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Cargill’s Microverse and its Vision for the Future of Animal Nutrition - INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES

Source: Cargill Animal Nutrition via Feedinfo

This year Cargill Animal Nutrition has been showcasing its animal health technology and expertise in feed additives & specialty solutions as part of its mission to become “the world's greatest science-based feed additives and nutrition business, delivering the next frontier for animal productivity and sustainable, wholesome food supply.”

What Cargill Animal Nutrition has identified as a crucial component of this mission is the in-depth understanding of the animal microbiome and how micronutrients and organic matter hidden within all living organisms - or what the company is calling the “Microverse™” – can accelerate the future of animal nutrition and health science.

We spoke to Gilles Houdart, Global Business Director Feed Additives, to find out more about the science and why the company has stepped up on its communication around it.

[Feedinfo] Mr. Houdart, Cargill’s expertise in microbiome science is well-known. Why was it important to embark on this new branding strategy?

[Gilles Houdart] While Cargill was already a leader in the field when it comes to postbiotics, enzymes, essential oils, antioxidants, and anti-mycotoxin agents through our Diamond V and Cargill brands, by joining forces with Delacon we strengthened our position as one of the industry-leading players in phytogenics and global animal feed additives and specialty solutions. With our world-class technical, regulatory, and R&D capabilities and go-to-market strength in approximately 70 countries worldwide, we developed the concept “Discover the power of the Microverse” to accelerate our understanding of how hidden inside the micronutrients and organic matter within the Microverse lies breakthrough technologies that can help animals thrive. We are dedicated to understanding the microbiome’s complex ecosystem so we can nurture its innate capacity to support health in livestock and pets in all of life’s stages. We are also leveraging the Microverse, including micronutrients and organic matter hidden within all living organisms, to accelerate growing one of the world’s largest, most diverse, scienced-based portfolios.

Gilles Houdart
Global Business Director Feed Additives
Cargill Animal Nutrition

Take, for example, Cargill’s recent innovation, Galleon™, an analysis tool that helps customers determine how the gut microbiome of their flock is related to their nutrition and health, and management practices. Galleon helps select the right solutions to support maturing a beneficial microflora, or help reduce or eliminate antibiotic usage, in markets where regulation or customer requirements are evolving. Galleon has been used in more than 100 trials around the world to analyse nearly 30,000 samples, employing artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced statistical modelling techniques to determine the most important bacteria linked to performance, pathogenesis, and food safety.

[Feedinfo] What is this notion of micronutrition and what is the difference between feed additive nutrition and micronutrition?

[Gilles Houdart] In addition to Cargill’s existing feed additives and specialty solutions brands and categories, it is our intention to go beyond typical feed additives, which support health and performance outside of classical nutrition by promoting the immune system, to encompass all small inclusion components of animal diets. Micronutrition provides nutrition at a much deeper level – into cells, microbes, etc. – whereby providing micro feeding inputs to animals that are an integral part of a diet and linked to performance and health, measurably, and scientifically proven. There are fantastic opportunities for us to explore in this area to serve our customers better. It is our intent to make nutrition holistically work in solutions leading to proven animal performance, with purpose, from sustainability to animal welfare, zero nutrient waste, producing more with less, enhancing resilience, reducing antibiotic use where they are still allowed, and more.

[Feedinfo] What are your most recent discoveries regarding the interaction between the microbiome and micronutrition? What opportunities do you see this interaction unlocking?

[Gilles Houdart] We are committed to innovation and increasing our investments in the products and portfolio that will serve customers into the future. Our focus on the Microverse has enabled us to accelerate our innovation pipeline with both new postbiotics or phytogenic solutions and leveraging interactions between very specific postbiotics and phytogenics, to help address key customer unmet needs: zero nutrient waste, reducing livestock emissions, reducing antibiotic or ionophores usage, strengthening immunity, and alternatives to zinc oxide, to name a few. Through in-house developments, partnerships like with BASF in enzymes, and mergers and acquisitions, we aim to strengthen our portfolio in the existing product categories, as well as develop new and emerging offerings to meet key customer needs.

There are promising scientific outcomes for our first new product innovation Dia V™-MB Pro for broilers. This is a new solution that harnesses the complementary modes of action of very specific postbiotics and phytogenics, allowing to work both on the upper and lower parts of the digestive tract, helping the microbiota of the chicks mature faster. The Galleon microbiome analysis tool mentioned previously monitors the effectiveness of the product. Available in Europe and some Asian markets, Cargill is working on registering Dia V™-MB Pro globally.

[Feedinfo] Do you see complementarity between the Microverse and the digital solutions Cargill has also been focussing on?

[Gilles Houdart] We see high complementarity between the Microverse and the many digital solutions Cargill has to offer to solve customer challenges in a holistic way. Galleon is one of the best examples of this. Panorama™, a flexible scenario planning tool that helps broiler operations make confident decisions for the best economic results is another great example. We also have Birdoo, a contactless daily broiler weight measurement solution from Cargill’s digital technology partner Knex that uses 3D cameras and artificial intelligence for better farm management and harvest planning.

In some markets we offer the Cargill Nutrition System (CNS), which encompasses research, methodology and a database combining Cargill knowledge surrounding what animals need to grow and be healthy, and the raw materials that feed those animals. With the largest global data set and innovative research at its core, CNS allows for precise feed formulations tailored to our customer’s unique operations, addressing variables like species, climate, geography, and targeted business goals, including animal performance and waste reduction. Cargill’s modelling software MAX, for example, leverages the power of CNS and takes nutrient supply and nutrient demand to deliver the best diet solution to meet customer needs.

To help producers reduce methane emissions, we also offer tailored solutions and digital tools using a holistic approach, called Reach4Reduction, that encompasses three key areas: 1) Managing on-farm productivity using digital solutions like Diamond V Insights, a dairy digital platform that uses farm data to support management changes; 2) Optimising nutrition and health with solutions like Diamond V and Delacon offerings and digital solutions, dairyMAX and beefMAX to provide feed formulations with sustainability metrics; and 3) Innovative solutions to support reducing methane emissions, such as SilvAir™, a nutritional solution to lower methane emissions (product availability varies by region and country). Additionally, we are investigating new science-based practices and solutions to address methane production beyond traditional feed and animal nutrition. Feed additives and speciality solutions, like rumen modifiers, can directly influence enteric fermentation and methane reduction. Solutions like essential oils; nitrate, sulphate, and fumarate; modifiers to reduce hydrogen; and seaweed are currently being researched as part of our Reach4Reduction™ holistic approach to methane mitigation.

[Feedinfo] What are the advantages to bringing Cargill’s phytogenic, postbiotics, enzymes, and anti-mycotoxin agent technologies under one roof?

[Gilles Houdart] While Cargill was already a leader in the field with our Diamond V and Cargill brands, by joining forces with Delacon we are now a global leader in phytogenics as well and strengthened our position as one of the industry-leading players in global animal feed additives. We have combined the best talent, resources, and capabilities and established one of the world’s largest, most diverse, scienced-based portfolios. By leveraging a global and local or “glocal” networked model, our go-to-market approach is to serve our customers through a broad portfolio with specific solutions that deliver outcomes based on their unique needs. We deeply value the Diamond V and Delacon business relationships that exist and to further develop these, we have a dedicated feed additives team with a firewall in place to maintain confidentiality for customers who play in the same space with Cargill Animal Nutrition.

Our Diamond V offerings serve customers who are increasingly turning to unique natural technologies to unlock the potential in feed to support healthier animals, performance and to help them produce safer more wholesome food. Natural immune support products in animal feed – like natural health supplements for people — are increasingly being used to support immunity and digestive health. Additionally, we are noting increasing demand from customers for specific, standardised and science-based solutions like phytogenics to help them address their key challenges. By taking Delacon’s phytogenic feed additives expertise and leveraging Cargill resources, capabilities, and geographical footprint, we are making phytogenic feed additives and specialty solutions more available globally, particularly in Latin America, Asia, and Middle East & Africa, and have expanded our toolbox to provide customers with tailored products and solutions to maximise animal productivity through nutrition and digestive health and science-based feed additives.

[Feedinfo] Cargill’s vision is to “unlock the Microverse for better lives”, whilst delivering the next frontier for animal productivity and sustainable, wholesome food supply. You have spoken about this next frontier, but how will you be able to predict future nutritional needs of animals?

[Gilles Houdart] We believe in precision nutrition: delivering the right feed for the right animal at the right time. We leverage our decades of experience in animal nutrition, real-world application expertise, partnerships with customers and allies like BASF, to focus on delivering world-class, science-backed solutions. Combine this with the capabilities of our acquired businesses, along with our innovative focus on molecules, immune support function, and digestive health promoters, we are continually seeking ways to optimise and maximise the power of holistic solutions for the next generation of livestock.

With a focus on micronutrition and health solutions, going beyond feed additives to maximise nutrient absorption, balance the microbiome, and support offspring through transgenerational effects, combined with cutting edge microbiome diagnostic tools such as Galleon, digital and AI solutions, and decades of experience understanding the nutrient system with an unrivalled network of sales and technical professionals in the 36 countries we operate in, we are committed to proven animal performance, with purpose, helping customers support their production needs efficiently and sustainably and feed the world using fewer resources.

Published in association with Cargill Animal Nutrition