Gathering information from more than 65 countries across six continents and a number of production systems, a new report — "IDF/FAO/IFCN World Mapping of Animal Feeding Systems in the Dairy Sector" — compiles a large set of data on dairy animal feeding systems that will serve as a valuable resource for dairy processors, animal feed professionals, dairy farmers and their advisers and policy makers.
Animal feeding is the first step in the production of milk and, therefore, affects the rest of the production chain. Given its importance, three partner organizations, the International Dairy Federation (IDF), the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the IFCN Dairy Research Network (IFCN) collaborated and undertook complementary approaches to map dairy feeding systems in the world.
This mapping will provide a useful tool for projects aiming at reducing the carbon footprint of the dairy chain, looking at the impact of animal diets on milk composition and human health and nutrition, and also those influencing animal health and welfare and productivity, the announcement said.
According to IDF president Dr. Jeremy Hill, the new report represents an important new tool for industry stakeholders. "This publication will serve as a key reference to assess environmental impact, identify better performing systems, optimize milk composition, enhance animal productivity, health and welfare and also to improve economic sustainability of milk production. This is a major effort that will continue for many years to come, and I encourage everyone in the industry to use this report as a source of reference."
For Dr. Torsten Hemme, IFCN Dairy Research Network, the key strength of the partnership is that each organization could bring specialist expertise and resources to the table, and apply them to common goal.
"Three global organizations working together not only allows for large geographic coverage, but also in terms of capturing the true diversity of animal feeding systems. While IFCN looked at typical feeding systems and their economic factors, IDF issued a detailed expert survey to its member countries. FAO approached animal nutrition experts to determine the composition of the 'feeding basket' for a range of ruminants. The culmination of this data is an impressive insight into dairy feeding systems globally," Hemme said.
The 177-page report is available to download at www.fil-idf.org/Files/media/IDF.ORG/Publications/IDF-FAO-IFCN-World-Mapping-of-Animal-Feeding-Systems-in-the-Dairy-Sector.pdf.