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Impressions from the Zero Zinc Summit

By June 2022, all EU countries must cease to use therapeutic levels of Zinc in animal feed by law. This lead SEGES (Danish agricultural research institute) to host the Zero Zinc Summit in Copenhagen end of June 2019. A wide range of acknowledged speakers presented their research on ZnO in diets for newly weaned piglets. Hamlet Protein was GOLD sponsor at this important conference with more than 450 participants from all over the world.

Hamlet Protein swine nutritionists Lars Sangill Andersen and Jes Klausen participated in the 2-day summit. "The ban of ZnO will cause problems for some sow farms as many experience post weaning diarrhea in piglets as their Zinc uptake post weaning is very poor combined with a low feed intake. This renders them in shortage of Zinc for physiological functions as i.e. the immune response. As Zinc is vital in over 300 molecules in the body this is a very serious negative situation. To avoid having to fix the occurring problems using increased antibiotic treatment, nutritionists need to find ways to feed and manage sows and piglets so they will overcome this problem," says Jes Klausen.

The summit presented many small contributions rather than one overall solution, which many in the audience found a bit disappointing. And “better ingredients, lower protein, organic acids, phytobiotics, probiotics and prebiotics might not even solve the problem with diarrhea even though the feed industry all have their own solution to this”, Lars Sangill and Jes Klausen commented.


Heres are some take-home-messages from the presentations that Lars Sangill Andersen and Jes Klausen found interesting:

  • Hanne Damgaard – Aarhus University Denmark
    As the daily feed intake can be very limited during the first days after weaning, there is a risk for development of transient zinc deficiency that may result in growth retardation and diarrhea. It is therefore necessary to focus on the daily feed intake on individual farms and adjust the dietary zinc concentration to the actual feed intake. The focus in the first days after weaning must be on the daily requirement for zinc. It all depends on the bioavailability of the zinc source and the feed intake.


  • Eric Cox – Gent University Belgium
    Adding MMP’s (microbe-associated molecular patterns) to the feed, by using ß1,3-1,6 glucans to activate the immune system of the pig can lead to increased resistance against F4+ enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli infections (F4+ETEC). The immusystem needs a 10 day period to adapt this kind of immunity.


  • Jürgen Zentek – Freie University Berlin Germany
    The high levels of ZnO has a reducing effect on the amount of bacterias in the gut. More on the gram positive and less on the gram negative bacterias. It lowers the production of SCFA leaving more energy to be digested by the pig. One problem with Zinc is the co-selection of antibiotic resistance bacterias due to increased activity in the plasmid dna. The site for zinc resistance and antibacterial resistance is very close.


  • Fabian Larch, DVM – Chêne Vert Conseil Veterinary Group - France
    Practical fieldwork has shown 5 key issues to prevent diarrhea after weaning: 1. Quality/weight of the piglet. 2 Training in pre weaning feed intake. 3. Comfort in the weaning facility (heating, ventilation etc) 4. Water quality and accessabillity. 5. Feed quality and access (Use high quality raw materials).


Need advice on optimizing piglet diets and nutrition?

Lars Sangill Andersen


Phone: + 45 22 16 94 55

Email: [email protected]

Günther Dubberke

Nutritionist - Germany

Phone: + 49 160 952 29 200

Email: [email protected]

Jes Klausen


Phone: + 45 40 53 85 96

Email: [email protected]

Diego Navarro

Swine Nutritionist

Phone: +1 217 480 7968

Email: [email protected]

Eugene Li

Nutritionist - China

Email: [email protected]

Jose Luis Laparra

Technical Sales Consultant - BRSA

Phone: 011 52 (1) 555 435 0209

Email: [email protected]