Heat stress: does common practice make common sense?

In the summer months, it is common to help poultry and swine cope with the stresses of high temperatures by adding sodium bicarbonate to optimize their dietary electrolyte balance (dEB). At Perstorp we are questioning this common practice and here’s why.

It is a well-known fact that increasing dEB in times of heat stress is an effective method of helping both swine and poultry in coping with effects of high temperatures. This is often achieved through the addition of sodium bicarbonate. The primary purpose of this is to provide a readily available source of sodium to increase dEB.

However, other than sodium, the sodium bicarbonate offers no additional benefits; in fact, it may even be having a negative effect on overall performance. When it reaches the acidic environment like the crop or the stomach the sodium bicarbonate is readily split into sodium, CO2 and water. In this reaction, a proton (H+ ion) is removed from the gastric acid, effectively increasing the pH. This hinders the effect of the pepsin enzyme that requires a low gastric pH to work optimally. So using sodium bicarbonate may provide sodium, but at the cost of digestive performance.

At Perstorp Feed & Food we believe we can do better than that by simply replacing sodium bicarbonate with our ProPhorce™ AC 299, a specifically formulated free flowing source of sodium formate. Sodium formate, commonly used as an acidifier, is also a source of highly available sodium. As such, it is an effective antimicrobial and benefits digestion by optimizing gastric pH. Studies have indeed shown that ProPhorce™ AC 299 is more effective than sodium bicarbonate at combatting the effects of heat stress in summer and improves performance - all year round.

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