How sustainability affects the future of feed additives

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.

How sustainability affects the future of feed additives

Yamuta I Dreamstime.com

As global disparity increases, those who strive for sustainability will have to increase their efforts.

Whether we call it climate change, sustainability or environmental stewardship, it is all about making sure Earth does not resemble a Netflix apocalyptic movie in a few generations.

How we achieve this lofty goal remains under discussion, but one thing is certain: Agriculture, and animal production in particular, have received a disproportionate fraction of the blame and, consequently, of the burden to address the change.

How are all these connected to the animal nutrition industry, and particularly the business of additives? One has only to consider how phytase became a staple ingredient in monogastric diets. The connection between excess phosphorus in animal diets and its biohazard potential as an excreted element is only too well known. It helped that regulatory bodies picked up on the subject, and also the fact that phosphate mines are believed to be near depletion. All in all, a very successful story for the enzyme suppliers, and hopefully for the planet, too.

Unless something dramatic happens and we either drop this endeavor (to save the planet or ensure generational sustainability) or change the way we go about it (by shifting and sharing the ratio of blame and burden to reflect reality), it is certain that animal production will continue to be targeted as means of getting presentable results to the powers to be.

Consequently, the need for more additives that work toward this goal will not only remain, but it will intensify. And, it will intensify as the disparity, friction and uncoupling among those who strive for sustainability and those who do not increases. So far, there are no encouraging signs that the planet is coming together to address sustainability equally.