Why should I consider water acidification?
Young pigs do not have the same ability as older pigs to lower the pH in their gastrointestinal tract. By lowering the pH of the drinking water we can also lower the pH of the GI tract in young pigs. A low pH in the GI tract creates an unfavorable environment for pathogenic bacteria growth and promotes the growth of beneficial bacillus bacteria. Furthermore the low pH drinking water helps to keep the water lines free of bacteria and mineral scale. Pepsin, an enzyme that aids in protein digestion is also most active in a low pH environment.
Citric acid is very economical, can I use it to acidify my water?
Although citric acid is fairly economical we do not recommend it as a water acidifier. Citric acid has a higher pKa than most acids, this means that you will need more of the product to achieve the desired pH. Additionally citric acid can end up creating a food source for bacteria when it dissociates in water.
What are the benefits of using a blend of inorganic and organic acids?
Inorganic acids are the most powerful acids for lowering pH however they do not show any direct bactericidal effects. Organic acids are less effective at lowering the pH but they have lower molecular weights and therefore can cross the bacterium’s outer membrane which effects the proper functioning of the bacteria. Using multiple organic acids at a time ensures that the pH is lowered in various areas of the animal’s GI tract rather than in one specific area. By using a blended product of inorganic and organic acids such as Jefacid we can economically reduce and stabilize the pH while providing pathogen control.
How much will it cost and what type of return can I expect to see?
As with any acidifier, the amount required will vary depending on the water quality at the farm. Typically producers require 100-200mL of Jefacid per 1000L of drinking water to lower the pH to 6.5. Average cost is $0.0475 to $0.095 per pig. In a study conducted by Novus International pigs that were given a blend of organic acids in the water showed a 13% improvement in weight when leaving the nursery compared to the control group. In a second trial conducted by Novus the control group and blended acid group had similar entry and exit weights but the medication costs in the blended acid group were reduced by 75%.