Animal farming is essential for supporting the global and rising demand for proteins. Due to the rising demand, farmers must make strategic feeding decisions to ensure high productivity. In the past, farmers relied on processed animal feeds or manual methods to mix the foods and prepare them for the animals.
The challenge is that processed foods are expensive, and manually mixing foods can lead to an imbalance in nutrition. However, innovation is changing the status quo, offering farmers more nutritional options to boost the benefits and profitability of animal farming.
Innovation in animal nutrition is to help farmers increase animal productivity, boosting animal health and wellbeing. Animal nutrition innovation aims to serve small and large-scale farmers and can be applied in different farming practices. Here are some innovations currently shaping animal nutrition.
1. Animal Protein Innovations
Insects are rich in protein and can provide enough proteins the animals need. Some insects currently used for animal feeds include the black soldier fly larvae. Once mature, the insects are processed to provide proteins, HDL fats, and chitin to boost the nutritional value the animals obtain from other feeds. Some of these insects also have prebiotic and antibiotic effects to boost animal health, especially gut health.
To ensure sustainability, growing these insects mainly entails using animal waste, hence proper waste disposal and recycling to promote sustainability. The insects are organically grown to replace manufactured supplements and enzymes.
The other essential animal feed is using soy to boost protein levels. Soybeans are essential for poultry and pig farming to facilitate growth, development, and maturity. The amino acids can increase maturity speeds, enabling the animals to obtain the desired body weight and mass. Soy is replacing the use of boosters and is essential for organic farmers. Other plant protein feeds and supplements include rapeseed, sunflower, flax, and other oil seeds.
2. Innovations to Boost Digestion
Animals face different digestion system challenges that may arise from conditions such as enzyme and hormonal effects, the nature of the feeds, and illnesses. These conditions will likely affect animal productivity and health, hence the need for an instant response. Innovation focuses on strategies to help animals deal with digestive challenges and absorb more food nutrients.
One of the products and innovations is a gut agility activator for cattle and poultry. The role is to help the animals feed even when ill since it boosts their ability to adapt to illnesses and other feeding challenges faster and more efficiently.
A gut agility activator can help farmers maintain yield consistency and support production longevity, such as extending the egg production cycle. Environmental changes can help the animal adapt and marinate their feeding habit.
The latest innovations are currently repurposing antibiotics to form probiotics for animals. Probiotics can be good for animals’ growth and development needs. It also ensures the food the animals consume does not have adverse effects. Regularly consuming probiotics deactivates enzymes and bacteria in the animal mouth and digestive tracts to ensure smooth digestion.
The effects make it one of the additives suitable for boosting the digestion process in ruminants. Adding them to ruminant feeds shortens digestion while increasing nutrient absorption and its effects on the body.
3. Functional Foods
There are foods to be added to the animal diet to improve various functionalities related to digestion. They promote biochemical, hormonal, and enzyme changes to speed digestion and absorption. They can also improve gastrointestinal psychology to avoid illnesses and complications that make it difficult for the animal to feed effectively.
They are made from different products; hence, you must select them based on the vet guidelines. They can contain minerals and ions to increase mineral absorption, such as calcium for adult cows. These minerals can help absorb specific minerals and hormonal balance for animal development. Functional foods have nutrients to prevent illnesses such as clinical milk fever that can reduce milk production.
Frequent consumption also balances the metabolism processes hence good for health. These feeds supplement vital nutrients using active ingredients, organic acids, and essential oils. They are available in powder forms to add to the animal water, or you can add them directly to the animal feed.
4. Precision Feeding Innovation
Farmers must observe nutritional balance when feeding the animals to avoid nutritional deficiency and surplus nutrients. Initially, farmers would buy manufactured and measured feeds to give the animals. However, most farmers manufacture most feeds at home to reduce feeding costs. This presents the challenge of balancing the feeds based on their nutritional value.
Using precision feeding techniques is essential for balancing the feed ingredients. The innovation considers dimensions such as animal weight, feeding, farming objectives, and the type of animal feed available. The innovation then provides feedback on the amount of feeds to use and how to balance them. Framers can use mobile applications or livestock websites for precision feeding guidelines and services.
The guidelines can also help farmers understand how to optimize a feed’s value. For instance, if wheat has 15% more proteins than other feeds, the farmer can plant more wheat and utilize the space for other essential crops rich in other nutrients. The tools can therefore help in long-term decision-making on feeding strategies.
Innovation is currently changing animal feeding practices intending to help farmers boost productivity from the animals. From m the innovations, farmers can get different products with different roles, such as illness prevention, boosting digestion, feeding precision, and providing sustainable nutrients. Therefore, the farmers can use multiple innovative products to boost productivity.