Selko shared the performance and economic benefits of continuous vs. partial organic acid supplementation on broiler farms at the International Production & Processing Expo 2024 (IPPE).
Selko, the feed additives brand of Trouw Nutrition, presented data from a trial evaluating the performance and economic effects of different water acidification strategies during the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) on January 30, in Atlanta, GA, U.S.A. While water acidification is a common practice used on poultry farms to support zootechnical performance, the application strategy varies across operations. Some farms provide flocks with a continuous supply of acidified drinking water, while other farms apply drinking water acidifiers on an intermittent schedule.
Selko conducted a trial to compare the performance effects and economics of a synergistic blend of free and buffered organic acids (Selko AlpHa) applied in drinking water on a continuous or intermittent basis. The organic acid blend that reduces the pH of drinking water is designed to support nutrient digestibility and a stable intestinal microbiota. Performance improvements were considered through an economic lens to evaluate the return on investment of continuous application, partial application, and no application.
The study was conducted over 35 days and included 969 broiler chicks. A control group (T1) received no additives in feed or water. A treatment group (T2) received organic acids applied during the entire cycle (1L/m3). A second treatment group (T3) received the same blend and level of organic acids applied via water for 6 hours per day on weeks 1, 2, 4, and 5, with no supplementation on week 3. All birds received a corn-soybean diet in two phases: an initial diet fed days 1-14 and a grower diet fed days 15-35. Researchers tracked daily water intake, feed conversion, body weight, and average daily gain.
Compared to the FCR of control broilers (1.772), birds that received a blend of organic acids in their drinking water throughout the entire cycle had a significantly lower FCR (1.607) (p < 0.05). Birds receiving organic acids for a reduced period also saw a lower FCR (1.638) compared to control birds (p < 0.05).
EVALUATING THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT OF WATER ACIDIFICATION
Researchers used local feed, product, and livestock prices to compare the return on investment per broiler. No statistical differences were found in water intake among the three treatment groups. Application of organic acids across the full cycle led to a net return of €0.17 per broiler compared to control birds. Birds receiving the reduced application of organic acids resulted in a net return of €0.12 per broiler compared to the control group. These findings demonstrate that the use of organic acids via water improves the return on investment per broiler, with the full-cycle application resulting in the highest return.
During an oral presentation at IPPE regarding the trial, Global Category Manager Health & Performance José Manuel de la Fuente noted, “Trial findings show that supplementing poultry drinking water with the organic acid blend enhanced broiler performance without negatively affecting birds’ water intake.” He also remarked on the benefits of supplementing across the full cycle, stating, “Despite the lower initial investment with the reduced application of organic acid compared to application across the entire cycle, the economic return is considerably better for a continuous use strategy.”