Photo: Danish Agriculture & Food Council

Photo: Danish Agriculture & Food Council

Use of medicinal zinc to be discontinued by June 2022

From June 2022, the use of medicinal zinc in the EU will be banned both for climate reasons and for the fear that the substance may lead to the development of resistance.

EU legislation calls for alternative solutions
There has been a fear among farmers and veterinarians that the phasing out of zinc would lead to increased antibiotic consumption in piglets. Consequently, efforts have been made to tackle the problem before the ban comes into force by researching alternative solutions that ensure that antibiotic consumption does not rise.

Feed may be part of the solution
The SEGES Innovation Centre has put forward three proposals for weaning feed for pigs of 4-5, 5-7 and 7-8 kg, which has been optimised to function without zinc. The mixtures have been carefully devised to ensure minimum diarrhoea, a serious problem for piglets.

Niels Kjeldsen, Senior Consultant, Nutrition and Feed, SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre, says: "All the feed mixes have a low content of protein and calcium, contain organic acids and a moderate proportion of soy protein and blood plasma . They have also been composed on the basis of research we have carried out and the experience we have gained from pig farms that no longer use zinc.”

Vaccine as a substitute for medicinal zinc
SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre in collaboration with Copenhagen University is also working on developing a vaccine to replace medicinal zinc. The vaccine will make zinc in piglet feed superfluous and may contribute to a reduction in the consumption of antibiotics in piglet production. The first trials started in May when the vaccine was tested on 60 pigs. We covered this topic back in April.

Read also: Vaccine to replace medicinal zinc developed alongside the COVID-19 vaccine

Zero Zink Summit 2022
In connection with the ban on the use of medicinal zinc, the Zero Zinc Summit will be held in Copenhagen from 22-23 June 2022. Professionals, scientists and primary producers will get together to discuss the strategies, solutions and challenges involved in meeting the EU’s requirements without compromising production. Click here to register and read more.

Photo: SEGES
Niels Jørgen Kjeldsen
Senior Consultant, Nutrition and Feed, SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre