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How to achieve optimum feed performance in a volatile market

During the production cycle of a broiler, many factors influence a bird’s ability to achieve the full metabolisable energy (ME) potential of the feed

Changes in diet and environment, as well as its genetics, can play a role. However, poultry producers’ main challenge is the variance in feed digestibility and its impact on animal productivity.

Producers must continue to meet performance objectives, in terms of both growth and flock uniformity, despite increases and volatility in raw material costs. This challenge has seen an increase in the use of alternative ingredients and byproducts in poultry feed such as DDGS, rice bran, rapeseed meal, canola meal, sunflower meal, palm kernel meal, corn germ, wheat bran and wheat pollard.

Inclusion of these alternative raw materials in feed formulations introduced a complete set of challenges: maintaining the nutrient specification of the diet and managing anti-nutrient factors. Compared to more traditional feed ingredients, the challenges of these materials are highlighted by their composition as they tend to be lower in both starch and protein quality and have higher levels of anti-nutrient factors, e.g. arabinoxylans and phytate.

Problems with anti-nutrients

Insoluble arabinoxylans are structural components of the cell walls of plant that are poorly digested by monogastric animals. Increased levels insoluble arabinoxylans produce a barrier for endogenous enzyme activity on storage proteins, starch and fat. They have also been associated with increased digesta viscosity, slower transit time, lower nutrient digestibility and undesirable shifts in gut microbiota. The combined effects of these characteristics negatively impact animal performance and gut health.

Phytate is another potent anti-nutrient. It binds minerals, starch and proteins, increasing their resistance to digestion. This can lead to increased ileal amino acid flow which, in turn, provides substrates that can encourage pathogen growth. 

Dealing with variations

Moving from simple corn-soy based diets to more complex ones, which include a variety of alternative raw materials to reduce feed costs, has a significant effect on the dietary substrates available for digestion by the animal. For example, the inclusion of a wider variety of protein and energy sources produces a corresponding increase in fibre (NDF and arabinoxylans) and phytate levels and decreases in starch in the diet. Digestible amino acids, expressed as a proportion of total amino acids in the diet, also decreases. This combination of effects creates unique nutritional challenges that need to be overcome for animal performance to be maintained while reducing costs per kg gain.

The solution lies with enzymes

Exogenous enzymes have traditionally offered value in relatively simple diets. They improve animal performance and uniformity by increasing nutrient digestibility while counteracting variability in raw materials. As diets become increasingly complex and the quality more variable, it is generally acknowledged that enzyme usage becomes even more valuable.

Phytase offers a relatively cheap, affordable way to eliminate the anti-nutritive effect of phytate and maximise its digestibility, which also improves animal welfare by reducing the risk of skeletal problems. The latest Buttiauxella-based phytase offers additional benefits over E. Coli equivalents, including much higher activity earlier in the digestive tract, minimisation of the anti-nutrient effects of phytate and maximisation of the time available for nutrient digestion and absorption. An added benefit of using both traditional and new generation phytases is their ability to reduce phosphorus in manure. 

Learn more

DuPont Animal Nutrition will offer live webinar on 23 February 2021 to discuss Nutritional Strategy to Reduce Poultry Feed Cost. During the webinar, you will learn about the key benefits of using enzymes to address challenges of raw material prices and how to maximise feed raw materials in poultry diets.

To know more, click here!