Why large farms do not buy many animal 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.

Why large farms do not buy many animal feed additives

Or, why nutrition suppliers fail to sell to mega farms worldwide

The most common complaint of nutrition suppliers (additives mostly) is that they cannot get (easily) into large (mega) farms. It appears to them that such mega producers prefer to use simple nutrition programs without much in terms of added (modern) nutritional supplements. There are many reasons why such large operations prefer simple nutrition programs, and some are offered here for discussion.

  • Large farms cannot do otherwise because their size creates logistical problems when it comes to handling micro-ingredients. They simply cannot afford to bother.
  • The performance of most supplements that usually carry large margins cannot be verified on-farm and so end up as a potential expense for no apparent profit. Not everyone has an on-farm research unit or experienced personnel to make an informed decision.
  • Some large farms procure their own micro-ingredients at lower prices than most medium-size nutrition suppliers. Many even have better mixing facilities than most suppliers.
  • The proffered return on investment is not significant enough for such large farms to care about. These operations do not focus necessarily on a per-animal performance basis.
  • In such mega farms, the available products are inadequate as they have been designed with smaller operations with different problems in mind.
  • It is often impossible for those responsible to make such decisions as those exceeding their own salary. An error can cost someone their job, and thus it is often better to do nothing.
  • Having a mega producer as a client has a certain thrill, but these operations cannot afford the thrill of having many suppliers of products and services. Their size alone dictates that their approach must remain simple enough to handle it efficiently at the massive scale of operations they are in. It is simply another world.