Balancing Animal Nutrition for local Animal Production

Publication date: 19-01-2023

As global population is growing and per capita income is increasing, the demand for animal protein will increase. Global animal protein production volume is expected to grow at an average of 2% until 2035.

Feed covers about 60% of the cost of animal production. Nutrition provides the necessary basic nutrients for an animal’s maintenance, growth and production. There is great variation in requirements and parameters to be considered for animal production in different areas of the world: economics, availability of feed raw materials, ingredients and water, use of hybrid genetics, animal health and animal welfare, meat-, egg, milk quality, but also environmental aspects such as Nitrogen-, Phosphorus output, Copper and Zinc soil levels, ammonia and dust emissions and lately Carbon footprint. But also climatological circumstances, historical patterns for consumption of different animal proteins and the requirements that society sets for the production of animal production and thus animal nutrition.  

That is why animal nutrition is such an interesting and dynamic field of scientific research and development. SFR is a private, independent research and knowledge organisation for animal nutrition founded in 1934. Our knowledge is based on more than 85 years of research with over 4,000 scientific nutrition trials with live animals under real-world farm conditions and more than 200,000 different feed ingredients from across the globe.

The introduction of modern technologies such as genomics in animal breeding has increased faster genetic development and differentiation of commercial hybrids to satisfy specific market segments. These hybrids have specific nutrient requirements and tailored diet formulations have to be developed. Next to the fast growing and highly feed efficient broiler strains, slow growing hybrids have gained EU market share. Initiated by animal rights activists this development has been adopted and supported by consumers and producers partnering in the European Chicken Commitment.

After 2030 cutting piglet tails will be forbidden in Dutch pig farming practice. The SFR pig farm operation is running with longtails since 2019 and has developed a nutrition and farm management concept to prevent tail biting becoming a structural issue.

In the layer sector we have seen a move away from cage to aviary, free range and organic egg production systems. The housing and production system has a substantial impact on birds nutritional requirements and on the way we formulate layer diets. As from Jan 1, 2022 Germany has implemented a new regulation in which the males of laying hens are not allowed to be euthanised at day old anymore and have to be reared. The first SFR trial rearing layer males up to a live weight of 1,4 kg at 14 weeks of age has finished and gained some interesting insides.

After the EU ban on the use of antibiotics in feed as from January 1, 2006 and the further restriction of curative on-farm antibiotics use in subsequent years, the 'Animal Nutrition' working area expanded into diets formulated for gut health. This strategy shift from ‘curing’ to ‘prevention’ resulted in a dramatic shift in the way we formulate diets for young animals  and initiated large scale development and application of feed additive technologies such as organic acids, yeast components, essential oils, herbs & spice extracts, organic minerals, short and medium chain fatty acids among other pre- and probiotics. And with success: The use of antibiotic active component in animal production in the Netherlands reduced between 2009 and 2019 with 70%, improving animal health and performance in the same time. Next to EU main other animal production regions across the world nowadays pursue reduced or never ever antibiotic strategies.

In areas with intensive animal farming, the concerns on pollution of soil and drinking water resources initiated formulation of Nitrogen/Phosphorus efficient diets with reduced levels of Copper and Zinc. Enzymes such as Proteinases and Phytases entered the market and were formulated into animal diets to boost N and P efficiency. In feed Copper and Zinc levels reduced and lower levels of better available organic trace minerals replaced high inclusion of  inorganic sources.

ASF outbreaks, the global Covid pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine have disrupted feed raw material trade and distribution patterns leading to higher prices. Global concern on climate change and the determination to prevent further rise in global temperature has triggered the request for life cycle assessment to quantify the eco footprint of animal production. The new eco parameters potentially will re-define the way we value traditional raw materials such as soy, wheat and corn in conventional diets for farm animals. In the same time these additional ‘eco’ values will open opportunity for new ingredients (alternative plant proteins, processed animal proteins, insects) to be used for formulation of sustainable animal diets.  

Animal Producers and Animal Feed Producers are trying to balance all these requirements from their local markets in order to define sustainable animal feed production strategies and in the same time earn a descent return on their investments.

Integrators, feed producers and farmers are looking for innovative technologies and nutritional solutions that contribute to animal health, performance, welfare, sustainable production methods and thereby increase the society’s acceptance of animal production.

There is a great need for scientific knowledge and practical research in sustainable animal nutrition. SFR translates the latest scientific insights and knowledge into practically applicable nutritional solutions and helps animal producers to implement. SFR is the specialist to assist formulating animal diets according to local conditions and requirements and help you with this balancing act.

SFR = knowhow to feed

SFR is your knowledge and service partner in animal nutrition.

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