Weekly Overview: Poultry Feeding Goes Greener

GLOBAL - Several news items caught my eye this week that show significant steps in improving sustainability in the feed industry, writes Jackie Linden.
calendar icon 20 March 2014
clock icon 4 minute read

The first global guidelines on sustainability for the feed industry were published this week

The International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) has released for public consultation the Global Feed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) guidelines developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-led Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance Partnership (LEAP).

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) jointly developed the Feed LCA recommendations and they form a significant part of the draft guidelines.

In less than two years, IFIF says, the methodology has been developed to introduce a harmonised, science-based, practical and international approach to the assessment of the environmental performance of feed supply chains, while taking into account the specificity of the diverse production systems that exist globally.

In a separate initiative, FEFAC has issued an update on its 'roadmap' for sourcing soybeans responsibly, showing where progress has been made and where more needs to be done.

The roadmap contains the key issues for the EU feed industry linked with the supply of responsible soy to Europe, as well as a project plan for the setting up of an independent benchmark systems of existing certification schemes against the set of the Federation's minimum import criteria, for which it will launch a tender procedure and cooperate with IDH (the sustainable trade initiative).

Fostering mainstream market solutions for the supply of responsibly produced soybean products to EU feed markets is the main objective, given that none of the currently available certification schemes has yet achieved 'critical mass'.

Two research projects published this week have revealed feed changes that could reduce our reliance on less sustainable protein sources.

Work at Wageningen UR Livestock Research reveals that a low-crude protein diet for broiler breeders changes body composition during the rearing period, improving hatchability during the first phase and egg production during the second phase of the laying period, as well as increasing margins.

A study led by Nottingham Trent University in the UK found adding high levels of phytase to rapeseed meal – a cheaper home-grown protein source – was just as nutritious for broiler chicks as soybean meal, which is more expensive and has to be imported.

And on greening of poultry processing, one of our new articles this week studies power use at a processing plant. Researchers at the University of Arkansas identified a number of areas where cost-savings could be made.

Turning to news of avian flu in poultry, the H7N9 virus has been found on a poultry farm in southern China, while Libya has reported its first outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1. Also on H5N1, Viet Nam appears to be struggling to control the disease by vaccination and Cambodia has a new outbreak. Low-pathogenic sub-types of the virus have been reported in poultry flocks in the Netherlands and Germany in the last week.

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