A consultant pig, poultry and calf nutritionist, Dr Ronan Casserly has identified poor breeds and management system as the main factors responsible for poor performance of pig enterprises in Nigeria. Dr Ronan who visited Nigeria as part of his interest in the development of animal agriculture in West Africa said this at a public seminar at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan on Thursday 25th July 2019.
Dr Ronan works for Iernevation Ltd, Longford, Ireland. He was invited to IAR&T by Prof Akin Adesehinwa for discussion on possible areas of collaboration. While in Nigeria he visited a number of farms and enterprises, including the popular pig settlement in Oke Aro, Ogun state. He later gave a lecture to a public audience at IAR&T on “Nutritional strategies to optimize performance and health in pigs” covering animal health and the future of antibiotics, energy and amino acid requirements of monogastric animals, and nutrition of lactating sow and piglets for life time performance.
In the lecture he traced the peak use of antibiotics in animal husbandary to around 1950s until antibiotics resistance became obvious around 1980s and alternative to antibiotics use had to be sought. The viable alternatives to antibiotics, according to Ronan, are quality feed and healthcare, acidification of drinking water and feed, as well as the use of pre and pro-biotics. On nutrition, he said there are no alternatives to adequate and proper nutrition of the animals, stressing that the nutrition of pig is more delicate. He advised that balanced diet and sufficient quantity should be given to the pregnant, nursing and lactating sows, suckling piglets through creep feeding and grower pigs or fatteners. Water intake was also emphasised and he recommended a drinker flow rate of 2 liters per minute to ensure ad lib water availability to the animals.
While responding to questions from the audience, Dr Ronan said with what he saw at various piggeries visited, he could say that the major limitations to higher economic efficiency were the breeds kept and their overall management. Therefore the better way to maximize the economic efficiency of the farms would be to use improved and genetically superior breeds and massive turn around in the management system, most especially, feeding and housing.
While corroborating Dr Ronan’s observations, Prof Adesehinwa, an Animal Production and Management Scientist at IAR&T with special focus on pig production, said the Institute has done a lot to assist pig farmers, especially in southwest Nigeria to improve on their management practices by making available their expertise and research findings to the farmers. He said he hoped that the situation would improve in the future to the benefit of the farmers.
The executive director of IAR&T, Professor Veronica Obatolu, in her closing remark thanked the speaker, Dr Ronan, for accepting the Institute’s invitation to Nigeria and encouraged him to follow through with the Institute for collaboration in any possible area.