Animal Nutrition Views
Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.
Several options to consider to combat high prices
We are faced with a new wave of high feed prices, and improving feed efficiency is perhaps the best solution to this problem. This is a worldwide problem caused by a variety of reasons. Unless something dramatic happens, grain prices will remain high this year.
Below is a list of actions that can be considered with the help of a qualified nutritionist. Not all proposals can be applied at the same farm, but rather a selective combination must be used according to local conditions.
Reduced market weight
Broilers and growing pigs tend to deposit more fat than lean meat once the protein deposit potential peaks. Marketing at a younger age always brings an improvement in feed conversion ratio (FCR).
Through the same mechanism described above (depositing less fat), leaner genetics can offer feed cost savings, assuming these genetics are not more expensive to buy.
Reduce feed wastage
In many commercial units, and especially those that use inexpensive feeders, up to 25% of feed can be wasted due to poor management of feeders, feed and animals.
It is widely accepted that healthy animals grow leaner and more efficiently compared with those of suboptimal health.
All feed additives should be evaluated based on return on investment, and now is a good time to trim them down to only those that are absolutely necessary.
It has been determined that for every 100 microns reduction in particle size, feed efficiency improves by 1.4%.
Certain, but not all, enzymes work efficiently against the major non-starch polysaccharides found in cereals, especially in wheat (arabinoxylans) and barley (beta glucans).
Animals invariably suffer lower performance when fed diets even with high levels of mycotoxins.
A qualified nutritionist is required to assess the changes needed to cut feed cost by reducing excesses, covering deficiencies or, preferably, both.
Pelleted feed is most likely to improve feed/gain by 5% to 15% depending on diet nutrient composition, ingredients used and the weight class of the animals.