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Research r...WeanersTrial report 870

Trial report 870: Chicory for weaners

The addition of 15% chicory or 7.5% chicory + 0.5% benzoic acid increased weaner productivity compared with feed with and without 7.5% chicory. No effect was found on health. With the current chicory prices, this is not profitable.


The bacteria in the large intestine that ferment fibre increase when pigs are fed dried chicory root or other ingredients containing long-chained fibre/carbohydrates. Research has shown chicory to have a positive effect on parasites and Lawsonia (Roepsdorf et al., 2005, & Jensen, 2007). One of the most important methods for reducing pathogenic bacteria in pigs’ gastro-intestinal tract is a high concentration of organic acids together with a low pH in the stomach and intestines. Organic acids can either be added to the feed where the primary effect is then found in the stomach, or they are produced naturally in the gastro-intestinal tract (hind gut). A naturally high concentration of organic acids in the large intestine can be obtained by increasing the fermentation of carbohydrates in the large intestine. When organic acids is combined with the addition of chicory to pig feed, the expected effect is a reduction of pathogenic bacteria in the stomach and small intestine caused by the acid products and in the large intestine through fermentation of chicory.

The trial comprised four groups given the following diets in the period 7-28 kg:

Group 1 2 3 4
Chicory, % 0 7.5 15 7.5
Benzoic acid, % - - - 0.5

The diet for the newly weaned piglets did not contain zinc oxide in high doses.

The addition of 15% chicory or 7.5% chicory in combination with 0.5% benzoic acid significantly increased the production value compared with the control diet without chicory and the diet containing 7.5% chicory only. The addition of chicory alone or combined with benzoic acid did not affect the pigs’ health in terms of treatments for diarrhoea compared with control. No differences were found in the population of Lawsonia bacteria in faeces between control, the pigs given 15% chicory or the pigs given 7.5% chicory and 0.5% benzoic acid.

Dried chicory root is fairly expensive (DKK 6.50-7.50 per kg in 2009/10), and it is therefore not profitable to add 15% chicory to weaner feed. If the price drops to DKK 3.50 per kg, the production economy will be identical between control and the diet with 7.5% chicory and 0.5% benzoic acid. An inclusion of 7.5% chicory did not affect health or productivity. It is therefore not assumed that inclusion rates below 7.5% will have a positive effect on health or productivity among weaners. 


Updated: 26.05.2010


Hanne Maribo

Chief scientist, PhD

Tel.: +45 3339 4390



Markku Johansen

Senior project manager, veterinarian

Tel.: +45 3339 4941