New nursery feed made the difference

By Morten Thomsen, Journalist

Peter Jacobsen had not imagined that terminating the use of medicinal zinc would have as big consequences in his herd as it did. However, the first couple of weeks without zinc resulted in a dramatic increase in the mortality after weaning.

Him having vacation when they had to stop using medicinal levels of zinc in nursery feed due to the EU ban did not make it less challenging.

- All bets were off; he states today about the weeks immediately after the ban came into effect.

He contacted DK-Svinerådgivning to find a solution. The consultants Annette Riddersholm and Jan Karlsen showed him a nursery formulation that performed well in other farms in relation to the ban on medicinal levels of zinc.

Annette Riddersholm explains during today’s visit that the feed is formulated based on their experience of what helps the pigs to transition the weaning better.

- This means good ingredients, easy digestible protein sources, a certain content of fiber and acids and 125 g digestible crude protein per feed unit, Annette Riddersholm explains.

Main constituents are 70% wheat, 10% Agrofeedlac (milk powder), 5.8% HP 300, 4% HP FiberBoost, 3% fish meal and 2% potato protein concentrate besides amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

She emphasizes that there is nothing ‘magic’ about the feed formulation. Conversely, they do not recommend compromising with or changing the composition or using other ingredients, she says.

- We recommend starting with the formulation exactly as it is with what it contains. When this is working well in the herd, one can consider whether to change the composition, Annette Riddersholm says.

Anders Hagemann, Hamlet Protein, delivers both soy protein in the form of HP 300 and HP FiberBoost for the formulation.

- HP FiberBoost is a relatively new product that was launched as part of the solution to the zinc-ban, Anders Hagemann says.

HP FiberBoost is produced from the fiber in soy hulls and consists of one quarter soluble fiber and three quarters insoluble fiber. This increases the production of butyric acid in the gut and results in low viscosity.

- HP FiberBoost alone does not solve all problems related to weaning, but we do experience that HP FiberBoost is part of the solution, Anders Hagemann concludes.

Less expensive feeding

Even though the formulation is less expensive than Peter Jacobsen’s former nursery feed, results are better.

- When I price wheat at 202 DKK, the cost of the ingredients for the nursery feed amounts to approx. 450 DKK per 100 kg of feed, Peter Jacobsen adds.

It is less expensive compared to the nursery formulation it replaces. The first sow herds tested the formulation from DK-Svinerådgivning during autumn 2021 with good results.

Gradually, 15 sow herds use the formulation in addition to about 15 sow herds that use a similar formulation from CR Foderservice. Peter Jacobsen emphasizes the importance of not restricting the feeding.

- The pigs have access to the feed around the clock. We also feed on the floor the first week after weaning, he says. Despite the good feed formulation, he finds that it is necessary to treat several groups against diarrhea.

- Now we already start treatments the first day after weaning whereas the first treatments were given four-five days after weaning when we still used the high levels of zinc, he says.

Now, the consumption of antibiotics is lower compared to when he used high levels of zinc because the pigs weigh less when they are treated. He experiences that the tending to the piglets is more time-consuming now compared to before the zinc-ban.

- We need to be more thorough at our daily observation rounds in the nursery unit, he says. Next challenge is to increase the growth rate so the weight at transition to the fattening section is higher.

Pictured: Annette Riddersholm (left), Anders Hagemann and Peter Jacobsen are satisfied with the piglets after the feed change.

Terminating the use of medicinal zinc

  • Peter Jacobsen observed a huge increase in mortality due to the ban on medicinal levels of zinc in nursery feed.
  • The new feeding concept from DK-Svinerådgivningen resulted in decreased mortality.
  • Cost of ingredients used in the formulation amounts to approx. 450 DKK per


Providing the right nutrition in the first life stage determines the overall lifetime performance of the animal. Our soy-based specialty ingredients improve health, welfare and performance of young animals. That is how we deliver a strong return on investment to producers around the world.