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Feed ingredients largely contribute to the total production costs. Nutrient loss should therefore be prevented. Photo: Shutterstock
Feed ingredients largely contribute to the total production costs. Nutrient loss should therefore be prevented. Photo: Shutterstock

Real values, real feed cost savings

Nutrition
Trouw Nutrition Partner Profile
Feed ingredients largely contribute to the total production costs. Nutrient loss should therefore be prevented. Photo: Shutterstock
Feed ingredients largely contribute to the total production costs. Nutrient loss should therefore be prevented. Photo: Shutterstock

Ensuring high quality animal feed is about accurate analysis, nutritional expertise, and the right data. Small deviations can already lead to huge feed savings, as shown by Trouw Nutrition.

The quality of feed ingredients can change along the way (due to climate conditions, harvest, storage, processing, and transportation) and this can impact the level of energy and protein levels in the raw materials. As energy and protein are key for high producing animals, we must always be aware of this and hence check all raw materials when they arrive at the production location.

Nutritional values of purchased materials may turn out to be higher or lower than expected. If we do not double check the nutritional values before formulation, we miss the opportunity to adjust the formula accordingly and risk under- or overfeeding nutrients. And especially with protein, this can lead to serious issues. We also see that sometimes nutritionists formulate on the “safe side” and increase the inclusion of protein sources. Assumptions and/or adding more protein (or any other nutrients) than needed should be prevented for economic and performance reasons.

Easier access to the right data

Raquel Ramião, digital product manager at Trouw Nutrition, explains: “It is all about precision nutrition and finding the right balance. For example, too low levels of protein in the diet leads to impaired growth levels, reduced egg production, reduced milk/meat production, and increased risk for health issues. When we include too much protein in the diet, it can lead to higher feed costs, reduced feed efficiency levels, health and/or reproduction issues, and increased ammonia levels. It is therefore very important to be aware of the actual values, and this requires regular feed analysis and using accurate ways to measure it.”

Over the last few years, the availability of accurate feed data has been made much easier and faster due to mobile NIR applications. This means that we do not need to send every feed sample to a lab anymore. Ramião explains: “This is a huge positive development in the world of feed testing, because mobile applications allow us to have accurate data on the farm and at the feed mill and have it available in less than 10 minutes. If we only work with accurate nutritional values in the feed matrix, nutritionists can better decide if interventions are needed. For example, adjust the ratios of the feed ingredients, or add more amino acids, for example. This way we make sure we formulate diets that better meet the animals’ nutritional requirements, are cost-effective and deliver what they promise in the field.”

Using accurate nutritional values and reformulating accordingly can lead to significant monthly cost savings, as shown by calculations done for a large broiler farm. Photo: Trouw Nutrition
Using accurate nutritional values and reformulating accordingly can lead to significant monthly cost savings, as shown by calculations done for a large broiler farm. Photo: Trouw Nutrition

Case studies show economic value

The NutriOpt On-site Adviser, developed by Trouw Nutrition, is a mobile NIR solution, backed by many years of expertise and knowledge around NIR and formulation. It contains high-quality calibration lines for 50+ raw materials, 10 silages and 5+ finished feeds. Over the years, thousands of samples from around the world have been analysed using this method, leading to a robust database, giving accurate nutritional values.

Ramião explains: “Having these insights available helps nutritionists make better decisions, and this is important in times where margins are tight and feed prices are high.”

The economic benefits have been shown by Trouw Nutrition highlighting that when a higher CP was measured by the NutriOpt On-site Adviser, diets could be reformulated in such a way that it lead to huge feed costs savings per month. This was due to less inclusion of the protein ingredient (e.g., soybean meal or sunflower meal).

Ramião: “In one example (a 50,000 head broiler farm), the NutriOpt On-site Adviser showed that the CP level in the soybean meal (SBM) was actually 3% higher than the CP levels assumed. This allowed us to use 17kg less SBM/mt of complete feed, leading to a saving of €12.16 per mt. Per month, there is a potential saving of €42,567 on feed costs. In another case study (a 5,000 head beef farm), we found that the potential feed savings by reformulation with our mobile NIR solution data is over €17,600 for the whole fattening period (90 days). These are all serious numbers.”

Each inaccuracy makes a difference

Ramião addresses that using mobile NIR can – of course – also measure a lower nutrient value than expected. “Also in this case, reformulation should take place to make sure we create healthy and balanced diets and not lose on performance by underfeeding crucial nutrients. In the end, it is about awareness that using the most accurate nutritional values is paying off, whether you use wet chemistry, desktop NIR or mobile NIR. We want to encourage regular feed testing, because feed millers around the world can still make huge steps in precision feeding, as shown by the calculations/case studies we did.”

“Using the right nutritional values – combined with the formulation services we provide as Trouw Nutrition – we can really make a difference for our customers. Considering the large volumes of feed consumed on farms and the high feed prices we are dealing with, we can create big impacts with small adjustments. If we can formulate more balanced diets, this is not only good from an economic standpoint, but it also leads to better performance of the animals and less nutrient waste, supporting more sustainable diets,” Ramião concludes.

For more information on Trouw Nutrition’s NIR services, please contact us.

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Nutrition
Trouw Nutrition Partner Profile

Trouw Nutrition, a Nutreco company, is a global leader in innovative feed specialties, premixes and nutritional services for the animal nutrition industry. It provides products, models and services to boost productivity and support animal health through all life stages. With unique, species-specific solutions, Trouw Nutrition has been meeting the needs of farmers and home-mixers, feed producers, integrators and distributors since 1931. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company has locations in 25 countries and employs about 8,300 people. More about Trouw Nutrition  

Nutrition
Trouw Nutrition Partner Profile

Trouw Nutrition, a Nutreco company, is a global leader in innovative feed specialties, premixes and nutritional services for the animal nutrition industry. It provides products, models and services to boost productivity and support animal health through all life stages. With unique, species-specific solutions, Trouw Nutrition has been meeting the needs of farmers and home-mixers, feed producers, integrators and distributors since 1931. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company has locations in 25 countries and employs about 8,300 people. More about Trouw Nutrition  

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