Transition needed to feed broilers in a low-carbon world

Photo: Ton Kastermans

Today’s cost challenges highlight the need to improve feed efficiency and productivity. This should become more widespread if the industry is to meet net zero goals, according to a leading poultry nutritionist.

Adjusting poultry diets to meet sustainability requirements, and in particular reducing dependence on soy, will bring significant challenges that will require realistic timelines, says Brian Kenyon, Senior Director of Nutrition at ABN.

Moving from least cost to least carbon

Kenyon says a joint approach is needed to overcome the challenges ahead: “Today, animal feed is highly valued on the basis of ‘least cost’, but is moving towards greater emphasis on the basis of “less carbon”. However, these 2 factors frequently conflict.

“Reducing the carbon value of animal feed, or more specifically soy, increases current animal feed prices and therefore the cost of production, but by looking at efficiency and productivity, alongside sustainability, we can contribute to balancing the costs for the producer.

Raw materials and alternative foods

Soybean meal itself can be replaced with several existing materials such as beans and rapeseed, although time and effort is required to develop the correct enzymes and processing techniques needed to maximize their effectiveness.

Alternative products such as insect meal, single cell organisms and co-products from the food and energy industry that are not widely available or not ready for mass production.

“While we are constantly evaluating our product line and refining it to meet today’s demands, we are at the same time researching potential alternative raw materials to see how they might fit into a feeding program. productive,” he said.

A suitable and realistic deadline

Kenyon adds that a realistic transition action plan is needed, recognizing that a complete move away from soy cannot happen overnight. A pragmatic approach would consist of working on a 5-year roadmap to ensure the availability of efficient and sustainable alternatives.

“An industry-led transition to soybean reduction, with an extended lead time, would create a secure supply chain, with the arable sector able to grow the right crops, preventing demand from outpacing production cycles. UK culture and further exacerbating price rises.

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