Switching poultry rations from 95 % to 100 % organic feed can lead to a reduction in the use of home-grown and regional feed. Currently, conventional maize gluten and conventional potato protein are replaced by organic oilcake (soya, sunflower, rapeseed, sesame). Oilcake has a comparatively low content of important amino acids such as methionine and so higher proportions of oilcake must be used. This can lead to further reductions in the use of regionally produced and home-grown feed components such as cereals.
Energy feedstuff components contain different amounts of amino acids such as methionine. Some grain species have a high methionine content and can grow well in most regions by the farmers themselves. The best examples are proso millet (Panicum milleceum) and naked oats (Avena nuda) followed by spelt, naked barley (Hordeum vulgare L. var. nudum Hook. f.) and buckwheat with all containing higher levels of methionine than wheat or maize. Figures 1 and 2 show the harvest and a field visit as part of the project “Proso millet in poultry feed”
In the present ration example, the use of oil cake can be reduced from 34.8 % (see Table 1) to 26.1 % (see Table 2). This means that the share of home-grown and regional components can be increased by more than 8 % since the oil content could also be reduced.
In proso millet, the methionine content is high, but the lysine content is low. Lysine can be added easily to the ration with grain legumes such as peas, field beans, lupins or soya. The low crude protein of millet is positive, as it is well complemented by the higher crude protein content of other feedstuffs, e.g. grain legumes. Overfeeding crude protein is undesirable as it puts a strain on the animal’s metabolism and leads to excessive nitrogen excretion. Naked oats have a high content of amino acids plus a high fat content so that the use of oil can be reduced. Proso millet and naked oats are crops that are easy to grow in many regions in Central and Southern Europe.