Over the past five years, Kansas State University swine nutrition researchers have consistently found that medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) may lead to better swine health and well-being and have a positive effect on pigs' feed efficiency and growth.
Now, Kansas State said new research is suggesting that more MCFAs aren’t necessarily better.
“Our initial studies used rather high concentrations of MCFAs in swine feed to demonstrate their effectiveness,” said Jason Woodworth, a swine nutritionist with Kansas State Research & Extension. “As we progressed in the research, we found that lower levels of MCFA generated similar benefits.”
That’s good news for swine producers, because when nutritionists include lesser amounts of MCFAs in feed, those diets cost less. Further, Woodworth noted that “these findings will allow more options for feed ingredients that can be used to enhance the overall feed biosecurity in swine operations.”
As the weather gets colder, Woodworth said one virus of particular concern to swine producers is porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), which causes severe diarrhea in pigs and leads to nearly 100% mortality in preweaned pigs.
“More and more research is showing the benefits of medium-chain fatty acids in reducing or mitigating PEDv risk in feed,” Woodworth said. “With this research, there will likely be new products coming to the market that will be available for producers to consider as part of their entire biosecurity program.”
Woodworth said the Kansas State swine nutrition group will discuss the MCFA research during the annual Kansas State Swine Day, which is taking place Nov. 21 in Manhattan, Kan.