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.
The advent and heavy marketing of additives in the past 20 years have left little formulation and margin space in most commercial feed formulas.
Animal feed additives, as they have emerged in the animal nutrition industry, continue to offer numerous advantages in terms of animal and feed performance. Nevertheless, the heavy marketing of additives during the past 20 years, due to their rapid development and fierce competition, has coincided with a reduced level of technical support by traditional institutions for several reasons. As it happened, such combination has created a paradox. While animal and feed producers are only too happy to spend the extra dollar or two on additives to enhance performance and eventually profitability, there has come a point that this whole notion is becoming counterproductive for them.
Today, most animal feed formulas are loaded with additives. Some additives were added to resolve a problem or avoid another, whereas others are there for specific benefits (real or perceived). But not all of these additives are needed at the same time. As if by a rule, when an additive is added in a feed formula, it is very difficult for it to be removed. This is true even when the reason the additive was used in the first place is no longer a factor. Perhaps for some additive suppliers, such an idea might sound good for business, but this is a short-sighted view of the industry, whose customer survival and profitability should precede their own. In other words, they should not saw the very same branch on which they perch.
Lamentably, removing an additive can coincide with a problem (there are always problems in our industry) and it is the norm to point to any recent change in feed formulation as the culprit. All these, coupled with a reduced level of independent technical support, has left animal and feed producers with rather bloated formulas. This leaves little space for the use of proper raw materials and of course even less space for healthy margins. Thus, either feed quality or business sustainability often become endangered – a reversal of what additives were trying to achieve.
It is high time, then, to start unloading feed formulas so that we use only those products needed today, and perhaps make room for those coming up tomorrow.