Balance is a key word in maintaining gut health in the livestock sector. In modern production systems, the gastrointestinal tract is being challenged and the subtle balance which gut health relies on can be impaired.
This can result in performance and profit deficits. A targeted and well-balanced composition of feed and nutrients is of essential importance.
Although nutrition has key priority in most livestock production systems, it wasn’t always enough to keep the balance. The livestock sector can no longer rely on short-term and non-sustainable solutions like antimicrobial growth promoters to keep the balance in the gut somewhat under control. And that is a good thing.
Increasing legislation surrounding antibiotic and zinc use is forcing producers to focus even more on health and nutrient programmes.
Also, genetic progress in animals requires them to eat greater volumes of feed, more efficiently and at a greater conversion ratio. Managing gut health, therefore, is very complex with many parameters to consider. This special issue covering monogastrics and ruminants highlights specie-specific topics, such as stress-related intestinal issues in weaning pigs, antibiotic alternatives to maintain poultry health and avoiding gut problems in dairy cows. With an array of information and products on the market, producers should inform themselves thoroughly and then trust their ‘gut feeling’ and go with the optimum solution to secure their animals’ health and protect profits in an era where there are no backups.