Zoetis recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a label extension of Improvest for use in market gilts. By temporarily suppressing estrus in gilts intended for slaughter, Improvest helps to minimize the differences between barrows and gilts when it comes to weight gain, uniformity, carcass value and economics.
The announcement was made at a business seminar held at World Pork Expo featuring a panel discussion with industry experts who explained how the product works in market gilts and its benefits:
- Dr. Ben Bohrer, meat scientist, The Ohio State University
- Dr. Chris Hodges, swine industry consultant
- Dr. Taylor Engle, veterinarian at Four Star Veterinary Services
- Dr. Brian Payne, business director at Zoetis
The industry is well aware that gilts, which make up about half of market production, do not perform as consistently as barrows. Improvest is an operational efficiency tool that can provide pork producers with an innovative solution to help address the gilt-gap productivity issue.
“By pausing estrus activity in the gilt with Improvest, feed intake and weight gain are improved, even during summer heat, by reducing needed nutrients for the reproductive tract during the final finishing phase and enabling further growth,” said Dr. Payne.
Higher weights, less variation
Based on numerous studies in a meta-analysis, Improvest improved average daily gain an average of 4% and increased hot carcass weight by seven pounds. It also improved group uniformity by reducing sort losses and optimizing barn close-outs. Improvest consistently produced fewer lightweight, discounted pigs and culls, and resulted in more pigs reaching the targeted weight range.
Improved carcass quality
Improvest improves carcass value by increasing primal weights and improving primal quality by consistently producing thicker, higher-yielding bellies for processing. It also improves pass rates for export and domestic premium markets due to increased intramuscular fat and improved iodine value which is an important indicator of fat quality and firmness.