Every livestock producer knows that feed is one of the most important and costly factors in rearing healthy, productive animals and recognizes that feed raw material quality has a significant impact on your bottom line.
Understanding animal feed raw material quality from throughout the production chain is critical to safeguarding feed value, supporting optimal productivity and protecting the bottom line.
Animal feed raw materials play a vital role in agriculture, as they are the primary source of nutrition for livestock. However, the journey of animal feed raw materials from the farm to the feed mill and then to the animal is a complex process that involves multiple steps.
At the farm, farmers cultivate crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat. These crops are harvested and transported to a feed mill, where they are processed into animal feed. Animal feed is transported to the farm and fed to the livestock, providing them with the necessary nutrients to grow and produce meat, milk, or eggs. Throughout this journey, raw materials are exposed to different conditions some of which may foster microbial loads.
The quality of feed is directly related to the quality of its components. However, even with the best sourcing efforts, ingredient quality is not always consistent. It has been found that feed with high microbial loads and pathogens can lead to reduced animal performance and increased morbidity and mortality. More specifically, studies have shown better poultry performance when birds consume feed with decreased microbial loads compared to those on a regular diet. Microbial loads in feed and feed ingredients can vary based on geography, seasonality, formulation, transportation, and storage conditions.
Ensure High-Quality Animal Feed
High microbial loads in feed, can lead to a wide range of health and performance issues, primarily by causing goblet cells in the gastrointestinal tract to produce mucus and lead to dysbiosis. To minimize these risks, it is important to balance the microbiome and maintain a state of absorption.
Pathogen colonization of the GIT can lead to even more significant health issues, making it crucial for producers to mitigate risk with effective feed hygiene programs.
Our team has collaborated with Colorado Quality Research to evaluate the impact of feed sanitation programs on broiler health and performance. The results have been promising, as reducing microbial loads in broiler feeds has been shown to support the development of healthy microflora and reduce the severity of Necrotic Enteritis. Broilers fed sanitized feed during various production stages demonstrated improved feed conversion, growth rates, and mortality compared to those fed a control diet.
In today's food industry, safety and quality are paramount. As such, ingredient sourcing and managing microbial risks are critical in animal feed and food production. However, sanitizing feed is one of the most effective tools to manage microbial loads and pathogen prevalence, and it is important to maintain this practice throughout the production cycle to ensure continued protection against recontamination.
High-quality animal feed raw materials are critical for livestock producers to maintain healthy and productive animals. Understanding the journey of animal feed from the farm to the animal is important to safeguard feed value, support optimal productivity, and protect the bottom line. Ensuring high-quality animal feed involves managing microbial risks, which can lead to reduced animal performance and increased morbidity and mortality. Sanitizing feed with effective feed hygiene programs is one of the most effective tools to manage microbial loads and pathogen prevalence, supporting healthy microflora and reducing livestock disease.
To learn more about how you can implement strategies promoting feed quality within your operation, contact a clean feed expert today.