The OK-Net EcoFeed knowledge synthesis on “Feeding monogastrics with 100% organic and regionally produced feed“ has recently been published. The document addresses the following topics:
- the protein needs of organic monogastric animals (pigs, layers and broilers), including different breeds and rearing conditions;
- different protein feed resources (mostly new or not commonly used), their nutrient content, production prerequisites and their potential feeding value;
- small-scale and on-farm equipment for feed processing;
- different feeding strategies.
The conclusion is that when pigs and poultry are fed 100 % organic and regionally produced feed, it is a challenge to get enough protein and specific amino acids. There are two main ways to overcome this challenge: To utilize by-products (for example waste from various productions), explore new protein sources (e.g. marine products) and refine already known products such as grass. The other way is to feed the animals less intensively; for this feeding strategy, slow-growing breeds are a better fit. Some slow-growing breeds are already known, some are rediscovered old breeds. The challenge with slow-growing and less-yielding breeds is that the production is getting smaller and thus the farmer will earn less or the prices of eggs and meat will increase.
However, there are many possibilities of combinating regionally grown feed and low-yielding breeds with different feeding strategies and they need to be explored.
Merete Studnitz, ICROFS, Merete.studnitz(at)icrofs.org
ifoam-eu.org: Knowledge synthesis