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IFF on Importance of Effective Enzyme Strategies in Poultry Producer Competitiveness – INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES

Source: Danisco Animal Nutrition & Health (IFF) via Feedinfo


Due to the continued increase in the cost of raw materials, feed – which has always been the most expensive input in poultry farming – is now putting even more pressure on producers’ bottom lines. This reality has made finding and adopting ways to reduce feed costs a vital strategy for the modern poultry producer to remain competitive.

As Global Business Segment Leader for Poultry at Danisco Animal Nutrition & Health (which is part of IFF), Julien Kanarek explained to Feedinfo, the pressure to make purchasing or operational changes to reduce spending is top of mind for IFF customers, with the cost of feed remaining a key worry for them. 

“I would say our customers have three main areas of concern when it comes to livestock profitability,” he shared with Feedinfo during a recent sit down. “Managing feed costs in the context of high raw material prices is definitely one, while maintaining animal performance in a difficult global economic climate is another. They also see having greater flexibility to include more alternative ingredients in feed formulations as an increasingly important tool for improving operational performance.” 

An effective enzyme strategy in feed formulation, according to Mr Kanarek, can play a vital role in answering all these concerns and remains a powerful way to shave valuable dollars off poultry production costs.

He unpacks more in the below Industry Perspectives and also shares how enzymes can help with another key topic of concern for poultry producers: sustainability.

[Feedinfo] The rise in raw material prices has been a concern for quite a while now. What have you seen, in your dealings with customers, has been the most common strategy they’ve adopted to mitigate the situation?

[Julien Kanarek]Customers are monitoring the price of feed ingredients more closely and frequently. They’re also looking at the quality and variability of the ingredients they use and, in some cases, considering using cheaper ingredients at a higher inclusion rate. We’re also seeing customers looking at increasing the dose of certain feed enzymes to cover variations in feed formulations and noticeably keen to adopt matrix values – not only for minerals, but energy and amino acid too.


[Feedinfo] So, considering this, what does an effective enzyme strategy look like when considering the use of alternative ingredients in poultry diets? What should producers be keeping in mind when walking down this path?


Julien Kanarek

Global Business Segment Leader Poultry Danisco Animal Nutrition & Health (IFF)

[Julien Kanarek] First of all, enzymes need a substrate to work on and they work best when the substrate is present in the diet at a sufficient level. Producers should start by evaluating and monitoring dietary challenges, by which I mean the level of phytate phosphorus, fibre, and undigestible crude protein fraction. They can then decide which enzymes to focus on but should only trust data-backed products with proven results in both scientifically controlled and field conditions. Next, it’s a question of specifying which enzyme dose to use based on the amount of each antinutritional element. And finally, they can decide to adopt the matrix strategy based on these two factors.

[Feedinfo] Let’s talk numbers. How much could this approach realistically be saving them? What does it mean for their already slim profit margins?

[Julien Kanarek] Feed cost savings are always linked to the price of the individual feed ingredients such as corn, wheat, soybean meal (SBM) and inorganic phosphorus (IP). The higher the inclusion level of lower cost alternative feed ingredients, the more the formulation cost will start to decrease. In practical terms, this means that applying full matrix values for the optimal phytase dose could currently reduce feed costs by approximately 4%. And if we push the boundaries of feed formulation and consider IP-free diets, feed costs per kg bodyweight could improve by up to 4.5% in poultry and 6.4% in swine.


[Feedinfo] How far are we from being able to completely replace traditional raw materials, like soybean meal, in poultry diets without impacting performance? What are the main obstacles that need to be overcome here?

[Julien Kanarek] At the 2022 meeting of the Poultry Science Association, we presented encouraging results from a proof-of-concept study. This research tested how different additive combinations could be used to mitigate the challenges presented by higher levels of alternative ingredients in 100% soy-free diets.

We found that birds fed a combination of enzymes (phytase, protease, xylanase and beta-glucanase) and a three-strain probiotic performed at a similar level to breed objectives. This treatment also resulted in a feed cost/kg body weight gain similar to the conventional SBM control, according to our economic evaluation. The study shows that with the right additive combination, raising broilers without soy is possible but further validation is needed. 


[Feedinfo] Now we’ve already chatted a bit about inorganic feed phosphate, which has also skyrocketed in cost. You have previously stated that the use of your Axtra® PHY GOLD phytase has the “potential to nullify the need for inorganic phosphorous additives” in all-vegetable broiler diets. Remind us, how is it possible to remove/replace inorganic phosphate?

[Julien Kanarek] Our studies demonstrate that this is now a viable option. We have found that our highly bio-efficacious phytase enzyme, Axtra® PHY GOLD, can successfully replace inorganic phosphorus supplementation from day one in all-vegetable diets while maintaining bone mineralisation for broilers, piglets and fattening pigs - as long as there is sufficient phytate in the diets. Maintaining bone mineralisation is crucial given longstanding concerns that inorganic phosphate-free diets can potentially result in lameness and welfare issues. So these findings effectively remove one of the main barriers to its adoption. 

At the same time, it’s essential to ensure that there is sufficient phytate phosphorous in the diet to meet the requirements of the animals, as well as a proper phytase dosing strategy to release the required phosphorus. While our initial broiler studies at Texas A&M University used relatively high phytate levels of 0.33%, ongoing work shows that less phytate can be sufficient to maintain performance - particularly in finisher phases. Being able to raise animals without inorganic phosphate will reduce phosphorus excretions and help to improve the sustainability of production systems. 


[Feedinfo] How much could poultry producers realistically be shaving off their production costs by employing Axtra® PHY GOLD?

[Julien Kanarek] We can now talk about real case scenarios, as our new nutritional approaches are starting to be introduced by customers in the field. For example, a large poultry integrator in the Middle East has adopted the IP-free diet concept to help mitigate concerns about environmental impact and rising feed costs. They are using Axtra® PHY GOLD with a full matrix application and, according to our latest calculations from December 2022, have been able to save between US$ 6-9/tonne of feed.  

[Feedinfo] Looking at 2023, do you see the key concerns that feed producers are facing changing this year changing? What do you think they will be focussing on?

[Julien Kanarek] Environmental concerns around land use and land use change, as well as high CO2 emissions linked to long-distance transport of soybean meal, will continue to drive interest in the use of sustainable alternative ingredients in poultry diets.

The current financial crisis is already forcing our customers to look very critically at their diets, so many will be encouraged to review their feed formulation strategies to remain competitive in 2023. That may involve including higher levels of cheaper alternative ingredients, looking at improving nutrient digestibility and trying to reduce or eliminate inorganic phosphates from diets.

At Danisco Animal Nutrition & Health, we know that enzymes play a key role in improving digestibility and cost efficiency. Of course, an additional plus is that nitrogen and phosphorus emissions are reduced which helps our sector be more sustainable. So even when raw material prices go back to more normal levels, I think a lot of these savings will remain and become part of the new baseline. At the same time, we expect sustainable initiatives that favour animal welfare and local ingredient consumption to remain a key focus for our customers.


Published in association with Danisco Animal Nutrition & Health (IFF)