Researchers Compare Raised Without Antibiotics Swine Production to Conventional Systems

Nov 21, 2022

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Research conducted by the Prairie Swine Centre shows a dramatic reduction in antibiotic usage on swine farms following Raised Without Antibiotics production practices.

Researchers with the Prairie Swine Centre compared Raised Without Antibiotics production systems to conventional systems to determine whether RWA practices are impacting antibiotic usage, the prevalence of pathogens in those barns or the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance genes.

Dr. Bernardo Predicala, a Research Scientist Engineering with the Prairie Swine Center, told those on hand yesterday for Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2022, there have been reports that barns adopting RWA practices observed an increased prevalence of pathogens within a few years.

Clip-Dr. Bernardo Predicala-Prairie Swine Centre:

As expected, there is a lower amount of antibiotics used in RWA barns.It's not zero but it's much lower, a factor as much as five to ten-fold lower compared to non-RWA barns.

One the other side, on the antimicrobial resistance genes, we've seen that RWA barns have lower frequency of detecting those antimicrobial resistance genes.

But on the side of prevalence of pathogens, we've seen a rise of some specific pathogens in the RWA barns.
We are presuming that reducing the amount of antibiotics in those barns is giving rise to the prevalence or occurrence of those specific types of pathogens.

These findings tell us that indeed RWA practices contribute to the reduction in antimicrobial usage but there are some areas where those practices can still be improved or we can develop new management practices to make sure that we don’t see this rise in pathogens as well as to ensure that we continue to reduce the presence of antimicrobial resistance genes in those barns.

Dr. Predicala says this information will be interest to all pork producers but especially those involved in or considering raised without antibiotic production.

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