Zinc is an essential nutrient, zinc oxide at up to 3.100 ppm is not. Replacing it with alternatives will assure better mineral absorption. Additional gut integrity and appropriate immune response can also be maintained without zinc oxide at high levels. And finally, as it is not very palatable, piglets will show a better feed intake after weaning and improved feed conversion.
From 26 June 2022 the inclusion of high doses of Zinc in animal diets will be banned and therefore it will no longer be an available tool to support the post-weaning period of piglets. This means that from June 2022 post-weaning piglet diets will only be able to include Zinc as a feed additive (up to 150 ppm of complete feed), as Zinc is an essential trace mineral for physiological functions.
The mode of action of ZnO is still not fully understood but it is accepted that it has a significant impact on immunity, gut integrity, controlling undesirable bacteria (such as E. coli) and microbiome. This results in the fact that we need a holistic approach, as no single product can directly replace ZnO.
For this holistic approach, we need to include a number of solutions.
It is possible to early wean piglets without high zinc-oxide levels. If all effects of the zinc are covered by an alternative solution. A thorough field trial proved even considerably better animal performance and welfare in the zinc oxide free groups.