Dr. Kim Morrill, Dr. Keith A. Bryan, David Ledgerwood, MS PAS, and Dr. Steve Lerner
According to the American Institute of Stress, a popular definition of stress is “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize” (https://www.stress.org/daily-life). On the list of situations that cause us negative stress, or distress, are financial problems and work difficulties. While these are situations to which most, if not all, adults can relate, perhaps it’s more relevant to consider those situations that cause distress among producers of animals and crops. According to a survey by the Farm Bureau, when asked to respond to the following question, “Based on what you know, how much do you think each of the following impacts the mental health of farmers?”, a strong majority of farmers/farm workers reported that financial issues (91%), fear of losing the farm (87%), and farm or business problems (88%) had the greatest impact on the mental health of farmers. (https://www.fb.org/files/AFBF_Rural_Stress_Polling_Presentation_04.16.19.pdf) . Wouldn’t it be great to believe that there are choices that can be made on farm that would demonstrably improve your financial situations, reduce your problems, and improve your confidence in keeping the farm for your children and grandchildren? Choices that, in short, result in the production of normal feed and normal animals, and gave you back a normal life.
There is a large and continuously growing body of evidence that effective probiotics support all of the normal functions of the gastrointestinal tract, including, digestive, absorptive, barrier, and immune functions. All humans, from premature infants in neonatal intensive care units through the elderly would benefit from the daily ingestion of effective probiotics. All production animals, from birth to departure, would benefit from the daily ingestion of effective probiotics. Effective probiotics increase the likelihood of us and the animals in our care being normal and reaching our true potential. Turning to sows and their litters, as an example, the following would be the functional characteristics of “normal”:
- Sows that farrow uniform, healthy litters, and wean a high percentage of pigs farrowed
- Sows that have a minimal number of non-productive days, and extended longevity in the herd
- Sows that take full advantage of the nutrition provided
- Sows that do not become constipated
As a producer of pork, what would feel better than an entire herd of normal sows? Having a high percentage of normal sows is certainly dependent on many factors, including the availability of normal feed and good management systems and practices that limit stressors in the environment. The value of using an effective probiotic is to increase the likelihood of individual animals getting what they need from their feed. This gives them the greatest chance of allocating those resources for immune-mediated defense, maintenance of energy balance, growing pigs in their bellies, or weaning lots of healthy, uniform pigs; that is to say, behaving like normal sows. Effective probiotic products contain a combination of strains of microorganisms that function across a wide range of modes of action within the ingested feed and throughout the gastrointestinal tract. As stated above, these modes of action support all normal GI functions: digestion, absorption, protection, and immune.
We contend that having normal feed available for your animals and a high percentage of normal animals in your herd would positively impact your peace-of-mind and significantly reduce perceived and real stress. While we can always provide myriad return-on-investment calculations based on the commonly measured variables of our industry, we’re at a loss for what value we should assign to a good night’s sleep or the time spent at the ballgame with the family! Perhaps a normal life is simply invaluable.
Contact your Chr. Hansen representative to learn how our products and services support normal: normal feed, normal animals, and normal life.