Feed innovations are set to tackle the sustainability file in 2016, as a changed regulatory landscape and broad swath of fresh advancements take hold for pigs, poultry and ruminants. The innovations cover efficiency, profitability, environmental footprint, animal health and welfare and more.
The wave of modernization is propelled by new science, according to Rob Patterson, technical director for Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. (CBS Inc.), which researches, develops and manufactures a range of new bio-based livestock feed supplements. Another driving force is shifting demand toward alternative supplements as industry adapts to new rules for more limited and judicious use of traditional options such as antimicrobials.
"The story of feed innovation for animal agriculture is entering a distinct new chapter in 2016," Patterson said. "Regulations have tightened dramatically, and there is more scrutiny and expectations of on-farm practices across the board. At the same time, there is strong reason for optimism. We are seeing the latest advancements take a major step forward, in line with today's sustainability demands, to bring more options for feed mills, producers, nutritionists and others in industry, to get more efficiency and value from production systems."
A promising area of advancement for the new year is "multi-carbohydrase" feed enzyme technology, said Dr. Bogdan Slominski, a feed technology researcher at the University of Manitoba and a pioneer in developing enzyme technology for animal agriculture. CBS Inc. has a long-standing partnership with Slominski's program.
"Multi-carbohydrase is the forefront of enzyme technology today, leveraging our best knowledge from 30 years of research and development," Slominski said. "The latest multi-carbohydrase formulations can now consistently produce substantial improvements in weight gain and feed efficiency. There's a strong production benefit and also a strong environmental benefit."
The multi-carbohydrase approach involves combining multiple unique enzyme strains that between them express multiple unique activities and, therefore, can breakdown a much larger portion of otherwise indigestible feed components.
"It's a game changer," Slominski said. "This innovation, in my opinion, has the greatest potential among the feed supplement innovations we see today, to greatly improve the economics and sustainability of livestock production."
Nucleotides are another standout example taking a leap forward for 2016. Although relatively new to the livestock feeding sector, nucleotides are widely recognized for their importance in human infant nutrition.
"Now a growing body of research shows nucleotide formulations designed for livestock feed can deliver strong feed efficiency, growth promotion and health benefits, particularly for young animals," Patterson said.
Also grabbing more of the spotlight in 2016 are specially designed yeast-based supplements that defend against stress loss and support animal welfare, offering unique value during critical times such as weaning or transport.
"These are just a few leading examples among many," Patterson said. "It's an exciting time of new options and choice in the feed business."