Holistic feed strategies for swine: safeguard gut health and feed safety

Not that long ago it was common practice in animal production to only address problems once they occurred. Issues with pathogens or gut health related problems were addressed once the symptoms were too apparent to ignore. Many secondary problems were routinely covered up by antibiotics. Today’s modern production systems demand a holistic approach that collectively considers all critical points as one, with one basic purpose: “prevention before treatment”.

It is important to consider all potential factors when defining the path for successful and safe animal production. Some of the most crucial critical control points are:

  • Feed hygiene: pathogen management and recontamination prevention
  • Gut health
  • Gizzard/stomach acidification
  • Water management

Managing feed pathogens

Heat and steam treatments, effective milling equipment, optimized mixers, controlled surfaces and bio-secure warehousing areas help feed producers to manufacture feed with the least possible transmission risks. Moreover, the use of specific feed additives, such as short chain organic acids can help us to protect the whole process from grain to the delivery of the feed to the livestock. ProPhorce™ SA Feed Hygiene solutions can help you to manage the pathogenic pressure that arrives at your system through feed like very few other products can do.

Our feed is safe, what is next?

The processes of feed hygiene and preservation help us to ensure not only the safety for animals and for the food chain, but also to maintain the nutritional value of the feed. The next step is the feeding and supporting the animals for an optimized digestive process to ensure that these nutrients will be used to their full potential.

Feed is a first entry point for pathogens into animal production. When we have successfully mitigated pathogens in feed, a second barrier to pathogens is the Gatro Intestinal Tract (GIT). This is where economics will be met, where performance is determined. A healthy gut is a prerequisite for profitable production.

Upper digestive tract

At stomach level there are two important processes that we can actively support:

  • The gastric process for proper break down of nutrients.
  • Minimizing the passage of transient pathogens to the further parts of the GIT

The above 2 processes can be supported using feed and water acidifiers. Minimizing the buffering effect of the feed in the stomach may help the animals by improved retention time, and enough acidity for a homogeneous and good quality digesta formation. This in turn will help to create an optimal controlled feeding environment  supporting the animal's health and welfare status. 

Gut health

As a part of the natural intestinal and metabolic ecosystem, butyric acid is considered one of the primary gatekeepers of gut health. Endogenous or exogeneous, in the feed or in the water, butyric acid provides numerous benefits for intestinal tissue and beyond.

When it comes to safe nutrition and gut health, the animal is faced with numerous challenges throughout all life stages. Especially in highly prolific herds, the health status that is delivered to piglets through their mothers and later their response in the fattening period is directly correlated.  Smart investments in sow gut health and or feed acidification will pay back as maintained fertility, piglet survivability, as well as piglet performance on weaning.  

Butyrins to support gut health

Butyrins are esters of butyric acid. Esterification enables a high percentage of butyric acid to be delivered effectively to the gut all packaged in a user-friendly form. Before being available as a commercial product, tributyrin has been in the spotlight of many nutritionists and professionals, and in many independent literatures for evaluation of diverse range of benefits in swine.

Perstorp’s butyrins, for application in the feed or in the water respectively, have been used and trialed successfully and widely. 

ProPhorce SR ADG and FCR trial data

Leading swine production countries such as Spain utilize intensive production systems that may lead to different approaches when considering nutritional strategies, pathogen mitigation and gut integrity.  Gut health promotors such as butyrins can be strategically supplied through feed or water depending on the specific phase of feeding, risk periods, transitions, or throughout a performance program.

Perstorp’s field trials and experiences have shown benefits of ProPhorce™ SR when used in sows. A trial completed in Spain in 2017, demonstrated the benefits on gut health translating into a higher number of piglets per sow at weaning, higher weaning weight, and higher survivability at weaning. 

Animal nutrition performance results at weaning

ProPhorce™ SR helps to improve the condition of the sows, and potentially preparing them for the next insemination. 

Sow body condition at weaning


ProPhorce™ SR (1kg/mT in lactation feed)

Ave. Parity



Back fat at farrowing (mm)



Back fat at weaning (mm)



Back fat loss (mm)



Interval weaning- 1st insem.



After the weaning period, diarrhea is a common condition. The changes from milk to solid food, the lack of acidity in the young animal’s stomach and the lack of lipase and related fat digestion problems can all contribute to this issue. Experience and trials have shown that the supply of butyrins during this period can help with the feed intake as well as support daily weight gain. 

Water as a source of benefits

One approach for risk mitigation - especially in weaning piglets - can be the supply of both butyrins and acids through water at the same time. In the early stages after weaning the lack of gastric juices, acidity in the stomach and the lack of lactic acid from lactose, may lead to digestive disturbances. However, if water is readily available,  consumption is not likely to be stopped. As a general rule, all animals would refuse feed first and water last. 

ProPhorce™ Exclusive NC is a premix that can be added to water for many benefits. With its optimum blend of organic acids, the synergic effects from essential oils, and bioavailable monobutyrins, ProPhorce™ Exclusive NC helps animals to maintain their performance during periods of stress and helps to protect them against harmful pathogens. 

The animal industry is under spotlight from many different angles nowadays. Much more than it has ever been before thanks to digital media and fast technologies. We now understand that subjects such as animal health and welfare, antibiotic resistance, feed conversion and gut health are a part of the same dialogues as consumer safety, sustainability and the environment. In a digital world where precision and optimization is the core of all processes, it is also important to have a look at the big picture. Depletion of resources, growing population, changes in farming methods, and increased disease pressure tell us to be detailed and optimized. A holistic approach based on short chain organic acids, can help us with this challenge.

Contact us or your local sales manager/distributor to learn more about ProPhorce™ SR, ProPhorce™ Exclusive NC and ProPhorce™ Feed Hygiene solutions. 

Burak S. Ruperez

Global Technical Manager


Contact me

Burak S. Ruperez

Global Technical Manager


Contact me