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PayleanTM (Ractopamine) and 4H - FFA Youth Swine Projects

Livestock Update, January 2001

Allen Harper, Extension Animal Scientist - Swine, VA Tech Tidewater AREC

After roughly a decade of research and evaluation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the feed additive ractopamine for use in finisher phase swine feeds. The product was developed and will be marketed by the Elanco Animal Health Division of the Eli Lily Company. The trade name for the product is PayleanTM. The product is now commercially available through feed ingredient suppliers and certain animal health product dealers.

The active ingredient in PayleanTM, ractopamine hydrochloride, is a member of a group of compounds called beta-adrenergic agonists. These compounds are synthetic analogues of noradrenaline and adrenaline, which are hormones that impact energy and fat metabolism in the body. In pigs and other meat animals the principle effect of ractopamine is to redirect energy and nutrients away from fat deposition and toward lean (muscle) tissue deposition. Supplementation of the diet with 9 to 18 grams of ractopamine per ton during the last 4 to 5 weeks before slaughter results in improvements of up to 9% in growth rate and 13% in feed efficiency. Carcass effects are even more striking with backfat depth reductions of up to 12% and loin muscle area increases of up to 14%. Because ractopamine increases protein deposition in pigs, the product label indicates that any swine feed to which ractopamine is added should contain at least 16% protein. The approved label allows the addition of 4.5 to 18 grams of active ingredient per ton of complete feed. It is only approved for market hogs from 150 to 240 pounds of body weight. There is no pre-slaughter withdrawal period required for PayleanÓ.

Should Youth Swine Project Pigs Be Fed Diets Supplemented With PayleanTM?

Because PayleanTM is so new to the feed additive marketplace, it is not known how extensively it will be used in the commercial swine feeding industry. Undoubtedly commercial hog operations will assess use of PayleanTM like any other new input cost. For PayleanTM to be used extensively in the competitive world of commercial swine production, the cost of adding the product to swine finisher feeds will have to be more than offset by added returns in feedlot performance and carcass premiums. It is expected that major commercial operations will conduct on-farm feeding trials and carcass evaluations to determine the impact of PayleanÓ use with the specific genetic lines and feeding conditions at the farm.

Youth market hog projects are in some respects a miniature scale model of a commercial hog finishing operation. Yes, the facilities are very different and the individual attention to each hog is much greater with youth project pigs. But the goal remains the same, to raise a quality market hog from which quality pork will be produced and to do so in a way that returns a net profit. Under these condition it is reasonable to expect that youth swine project participants, with the help of their advisors, will assess the use of PayleanTM much the same way as commercial swine producers. But, there is an added consideration. Most youth hog projects culminate with a local or regional market hog show. It is certainly reasonable to strive to do well at these shows and it is reasonable to be interested in a product like PayleanTM that has the potential to reduce backfat depth by as much as 12% and increase muscling by as much as 14%.

So what is the bottom line? Should youth market hog participants be using finisher feeds with PayleanTM? In reality there is no universal answer. For example, there is really not a lot of information available to indicate if PayleanTM performs differently in hogs from high lean gain gentetic lines verses lower lean gain genetic lines, or the effects of PayleanTM in gilts verses barrows. Different youth project participants and their advisors will come to different conclusions depending on their conditions. What is known about PayleanTM use is outlined as follows.

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