Expert opinion

10 commentslast update:6 Aug 2012

Getting more out of feed!!

With the pressure of elevated feed prices, the search is on to remain profitable in the animal production industry. This all has to do with being more efficient! We can look at the animal itself, and focus on animals that are able to get more animal protein out of feed, have a higher feed intake, can better digest the feed etc. But it is better to focus on the feed itself by making the ingredients more efficient and work better in the animal.

With the pressure of elevated feed prices, the search is on to remain profitable in the animal production industry. This all has to do with being more efficient, and thus getting more out of feed. This can be achieved via different routes. We can look at the animal itself, and focus on animals that are able to get more animal protein out of feed, have a higher feed intake, can better digest the feed etc.
We can also look at the feed itself and make the ingredients more efficient and work better in the animal. The latter often has to do with adding more enzymes or other additives for example, that increase the bioavailability of the ingredients.

Challenges for aquaculture
This topic can especially be applied for aquaculture. I’ve just come back from Victam in Bangkok and was overwhelmed by the information on shrimps, tilapia, krill and other aquatic creatures and at the same time noticed that this type of farming can be a lot more efficient, especially in Asia.

Boosting the efficiency of currently used fish feed can be done by using more enzymes for example. Enzymes can increase the digestibility of nutrients, leading to greater efficiency in the production of animal products. The enzyme phytase, for example, is increasingly used in aquaculture production systems.
Other efficiency boosters may include the use of more functional ingredients such as plant extracts and probiotics that have a positive effect on the digestive system and hence increase the nutrient uptake by the animals. In addition, more digestibility enhancers are used in feed formulations these days.

Upgrade raw materials
With regards to other animal species, the use of byproducts from the bio energy business, such as Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) is rapidly growing. However, the quality of these 'new' products still varies a lot. This automatically means that feeding these products is not always efficient. An old technique called Solid State Fermentation (SSF) is now used to upgrade the nutrient value of these byproducts.
SSF involves the careful selection of specific strains of naturally occurring fungi. These fungi are mixed with the product and breaks down fibrous and non-fibrous portions of the substrate. This process increases the nutrient profile of the products and enables the use of certain (fibrous) ingredients for animal feed. This enables nutritionists to be more flexible in choosing their ingredient and to get more out of them!

Feed formulation software
We also asked our website visitors at what they think should be done to increase the efficiency of animal feed. The majority of the people named "better diet formulation tools" as the most probable and effective solution. I thought that most diet formulation programmes were already pretty advanced.
I personally don't have experience with feed formulation software, so I am not fully aware of the pros and cons of the current software programmes used.
I am curious what you think should be done to increase the efficiency of our feed! Don't by shy, leave a scrap below. I am looking forward to hearing from you!


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    Osmund Paulinus

    Iam a Physicist with specialisation in Energy Management. The search tool I used to earn a Ph.D degree in 2007 was "Efficiency". I applied it on all the Power Converter Stages and it worked right good for me.
    I believe that applying "efficiency" on the animal and the feed is the best approach.

    Lecturer,RSUST, Port Harcourt,

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    Larry Whetstone

    The enhanced methods of feeds management are now appearing in the market with the advent of the application of Prebiotic and Probiotic addition to feeds. Combined they become Synbiotics. Just look at the ads in the industry publications andwade through the various Trademarked names to note that they all use the same ingredients . The same concept is used in human feeds as well , especially probiotics in yoghurt. Inulin in particular and resistant starches are the most often used prebiotic soluble fibres utilized .Gut health for all monogastricts . humans to fish is now going to
    be enhanced in this manner .

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    I agree with consumer. Additives are not the answer to the pressure of elevated feed prices, Farmers do not need pimped food, farmers need normal feed for normal prices. Farmers need more local farms and need no big companies owning almost every part of the food chain. That kind of cooperate acting ads no value; weakens the sustainability of the food industry; creates unbalanced farming and will make the shareholders unhappy at the end. Farmers need to get rid of there oil dependency to keep feed reasonably priced. Farmers do not need pimped products but they need fine seed from quality branches, grown by farmers who know how to grow quality seed. And of course: farmers need clean oceans so fisherman can go fish for shrimps ore what ever seefood again, instead of breeding shrimps in 'closed recirculation farms'. Shrimps need to be bred by other shrimps in the open and clean see, and local fisherman need to catch them and sell them to suppliers from all over the world so consumers can enjoy the nutritional value of mothernature. The need to use pre- ore postbiotics applications in the food production underlines the fact that the hosts they are added to are not in normal healthy condition. If pimping food is the way to go, there will be soon not much left of the food chain. The nowadays food chain = corrupt & unsustainable.

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    Tanveer Ahmad

    The word efficiency will work until we have some organic matter (OM) for feeding. In case of less OM what can we do? This is the actual problem that we will face in the next decade. Think if we offer only air and water to animal and get milk etc. Though this is possible in plants but Is this possible in animals?
    Assistant Porfessor, Animal Nutrition, Pakistan

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    sanjiv malhotra (Avitech)

    This is the reality we all need to live with and face now. A nice and thought provoking article which all people of our industry worldwide need to recognize and understand.

    Increasing raw material prices led us to do research at our R&D farm and laboratory with our few speciality feed additives where we have sucessfully been able to conclude a reformulation upto 2% of broiler feed after adding our lipidin (An Emulsifier) and yet retain /slightly improve performance of the birds with substantial savings .
    A similar exercise was also initiated on a speciality enzyme product which is a combination of few specific relevant enzymes,where a reformulation of broiler diet upto 3% of all nutrient values was tried sucessfully and results /performance was not compromised.

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    Lawrence Nwanze

    Since there are competing demands for the popular grains used for animal feeds. Let work with grains with less competitive demand and nutritive value, which can be optimized with enzymes

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    Apostol Cilevski

    Congratulations to Emmy Koeleman to begins a this actual discussion.

    Under the Motto Getting more out of the feed we can begin to realize very useful ideas and practical procedures not only to amortize the stress of the increasing of the feed prices, but also to continue and to intensify the investigations of discover alternative feed sources.

    No doubt, I am agreeing with Emmy almost of everything. Today we can make the ingredients more efficient by adding enzymes, probiotics etc. Then we can use different forgotten techniques and a lot of byproducts. Here I would like to remind and the substitution of different row materials, for example, the fish meal in poultry nutrition by using the feeds of vegetable origin, or using Californian earth worms etc.

    At this a suitable opportunity I would like to accent the benefits of the Feed formulation software as one of the most powerful tools how to Get more out of the feed. It is almost impossible to optimize the nutritional value and the feed price efficiency diet without a feed software program. Personally I use the Feed formulation software for a years very successfully and with the help of this powerful tool I formulate a lot of the very useful diets and meals, not only with adequate Nutritional value but at the same time the cheapest diets for all kind of animals (Cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, gouts, horses etc.). I am available to offer my help for practical using The Formulation Software all kind of animal, and to provide with the best Software Program to every one and every where in the entire world (our globe village). In addition to everything else now, because the above, to repeat once again, it is timely to start, thanks to Emmy, and to intensify the research for discovering the alternative sources for animal nutrition. Now it is also timely the responsible Institutions and reach trusts, don’t be to late, to provide financial support for these investigations and do not forget that the animals, using the grains, are the competitive to the people nutrition!

    Dr. Sci. Apostol, Independent Researcher for Animal Nutrition, Macedonia.

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    Mark Varner

    High feed prices are one of the most pressing issues facing animal agriculture and particularly dairy cattle feeding. Anyone interested in this topic should check out the upcoming 'webinar' on the topic, which is covered in my recent Dairy Adviser Coffeeshop Blog post (<>).

    Hope that helps!


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    robert carter

    Hi Emmy,
    I enjoyed reading your article on "Getting more out of feed 17 Apr 2008." Current livestock feeds are obsolete and have not significantly changed in a long time. For example, in the US, the big livestock producers also produce their own feed. These producers do not incorporate the latest advancements in research from leading agricultural universities because it would increase feed price and they won't be able to recover this cost from customers. As a result, livestock feeds have not made significant improvements in digestion, absorption, reduction in manure, and improvements in operational efficiencies a long time. A start-up company might be able to incorporate all of advances in enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, yeasts, etc to improve feed performance...and eliminate antibiotics and growth hormones from livestock.

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