The 7 Biggest Poultry and Animal Feed Trends

Seaweed and insects are an example of new protein sources that will be discussed – a hot topic since the EU has approved the use of insect meal as animal feed on farms. Other hot topics include functional foods, alternative proteins, roughage and feed additives.

Here, Dr. Detlef Kampf, Competence Center Agriculture, DLG eV, highlights 7 of the biggest trends in the animal feed sector.

1 “Functional” complementary flows

Complementary feeds or premixes do not primarily focus on providing energy and major nutrients to the animal, but are intended to support them by including special ingredients. These could include amino acids and enzymes, medium chain fatty acids, oligo- or polysaccharides or polyphenolic acids which support intestinal function, metabolism and the immune system, and therefore animal health. Complementary feeds are of particular interest today as they can help reduce the amount of antibiotics used in animal husbandry.

2 Optimization of compound feed for nitrogen and phosphorus

We understood how excess nitrogen and phosphorus in livestock rations passes through the animals and is excreted in manure, where it can pollute the environment. Nutritionists continue to research how to reduce the adverse effects that can result.

The objective of nutrition is to adapt the rations to the real needs of the animal for the maintenance of the functions of the organism as well as for the production of meat, milk or eggs. Due to the high protein requirements of animals, protein supplementation often exceeds necessary nutritional levels. This is also the case with phosphorus, where the amount available in the diet from a particular source may vary so that there could be more than expected, or it may be in a form that is difficult for the animal to assimilate and immediately excreted.

Protein requirements can be better balanced by optimizing dietary protein quality through targeted food processing, free amino acid supplementation, as well as the use of specific enzymes. Most important is meeting the precise nutritional requirements for an animal’s particular performance level and/or growth phase. Phosphorus problems can be solved by reducing the phosphorus content of animal diets to manageable levels that will not lead to deficiency.

3 Alternative Non-GMO Protein Sources

As it becomes increasingly difficult to source soybean meal from suppliers who can guarantee that the product does not contain genetically modified (GMO) plant material, more and more farmers in Germany and in some other European countries have stopped using imported soybean meal or feeds that may include this material. Therefore, there is a growing need for alternative protein feeds that can be used instead, such as non-GMO rapeseed meal, fava beans, peas, lupins or sunflower meal. All of these are now in demand, and research continues to determine the extent to which each of these feeds can be used in animal diets without affecting animal health, feed intake and efficiency, and texture and the desired taste characteristics of products of animal origin. product.

4 Insect protein research continues

As the growing world population continues to emphasize the ethics of feeding livestock with ingredients that could be used for human food, the search for new sources of protein to meet the needs of livestock continues. . A promising avenue of current research is insect protein, which has also been approved in the EU. Its feasibility is beyond doubt and the first results of feeding trials on monogastric animals are already available. Food safety issues still need to be clarified, especially with regard to possible hygiene risks.

5 Water as food

In addition to the supply of energy and essential nutrients, provide adequate quantities of water (2 to 5 liters per kg of dry matter intake depending on the species, the direction of use, the level of performance, feed, weather and other factors) under appropriate conditions Quality is essential for the health and performance of livestock. Water can therefore be considered the most important nutrient or food, and the breeder is solely responsible for ensuring that it does not become a limiting factor in the performance of the animals.

6 Forage quality

Coarse feeds, such as grass or corn silage, are an important part of ruminant diets, but their feed quality and value can vary considerably. Maximizing feed quality increasingly begins with focusing on technically sound crop planning, as well as achieving optimum harvest characteristics by cutting and gathering the crop at its most nutritious stage. To preserve forage quality, additional silage additives can be used which contribute significantly to improving the fermentation process, but these also stabilize the fermented forage during storage to help maintain its quality when the silo is open and the crop is exposed to the weather. atmosphere.

7 Food additives

Feed additives are widely used in livestock feed in the EU, but only after going through a comprehensive and complex approval process to show they are safe for farmers and animals, as well as effective. The use of enzymes to improve the digestibility of certain ingredients such as proteins, phosphorus or carbohydrates is widely used. Likewise, many probiotics and other products are used to stabilize intestinal flora and health.

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