Organic poultry producers are often confronted with high feed costs and a lack of alternative high-quality protein sources for poultry.
Green protein concentrate can be produced from locally grown crops such as clover-grass (see figure 1) or alfalfa. It can be used in the diets of organic broilers and layers. In a bio-refinery, protein concentrate is obtained by pressing fresh green material (see figure 2), heating/fermenting the juice to precipitate protein and finally putting it in a centrifuge. The concentrated green protein can be dried and added to poultry feed.
• Choose an appropriate type of green crop, such as clover-grass or alfalfa, with an expected high protein and amino acid content. Consider soil types and weather patterns to grow a crop with a good and high quality yield.
• Harvest the field at regular intervals in order to achieve good plant growth and to obtain batches with more high quality protein and less fibre
• Harvesting procedures, which minimise soil content in the green material obtained from the field are necessary to obtain good quality green protein and to avoid wear of machinery and technical equipment
• Cooperation with a bio-refinery plant is a prerequisite in order to concentrate the protein into a green paste that can be dried and used in poultry feed.
• If not dried, the wet green paste can be stored in closed containers/plastic bags in cool conditions for a shorter period.
• Chemical analysis of the green protein concentrate is important in order to replace other protein sources such as soya and to carry out the correct feed formulation. This can be done together with advisors or feed companies.