Protein alternatives support net zero, land stewardship and sustainability

Will Bisset, Entocycle’s business development director, said the company is currently building a factory in Scotland, where 1.7 million tonnes of food are wasted each year.

Speaking at the NFU’s annual poultry research seminar, Bisset said the company would use black soldier flies, which can convert food waste into protein in just 12 days. “Black soldier flies are amazing bio-converters that take just about any organic waste and convert it into real, high-quality protein.”

A safe alternative form of protein

Black soldier fly eggs receive the waste from food producers, brewers and distillers and within 2 weeks the larvae consume the waste, grow into adults from which the company extracts co-products, such as protein , lipids and fertilizers for use in pet food. and potential use in the aquaculture and animal feed sectors as a safe alternative form of protein.

At one of its farms, Entocycle expects to produce 2,200 tons of grubs and 2,200 tons of dung (a potential soil amendment given current fertilizer prices) per year.

100% organic and regional food for monogastrics in Europe

Dr Lindsay Whistance, The Organic Research Centre, sustainable feed and planting design for organic poultry ranges, spoke about the pan-European OK-Net EcoFeed project, which aimed to work towards 100% organic and regional feed for monogastrics in Europe.

One of the conclusions regarding the feeding of poultry and pigs with 100% organic and locally produced feed, specific proteins and amino acids, was that it is a challenge, but that approaches potential could solve the problems. Whistance said the possibilities for combinations of foods grown in the region and fed to low-yielding breeds through different strategies were many. A total of 18 trials in 8 European countries have been set up, lasting 3 years and shared on the platform.

Feed nettles to laying hens

Among the trials discussed by Whistance was a German initiative that planned to use nettles for laying hens in 2 feeding trials. Dried nettles were used in proportions of 10% (trial 1) and 5% (trial 2) in the respective farm rations, replacing 5% of the existing protein source. In trial 1, the ground grass was further reduced by 5%. Fodder was prepared on farms equipped with mobile grinding and mixing equipment and feed was distributed ad libitum to nearly 300 laying hens through automatic feeders. The bird genetic users were Sandy (trial 1) and Lohmann Brown (trial 2). The feeding duration was 10 days for trial 1 and 26 days for trial 2 with the aim of reducing the amount of protein concentrates purchased.

The results showed that the hens accepted the modified rations and that feed consumption remained stable at 120-130 g/hen/day. The faeces were solid and the spawning performance constant (80% for trial 1 and 88% for trial 2). Egg quality characteristics remained unchanged, but feed values ​​were worse than expected due to high stalk content, cost was prohibitive, and nettles are not included in the list of permitted feeds, their use increasing. large scale is therefore not currently appropriate.

Camelina in feed for laying hens

An Italian project investigated the use of Camelina in laying hen feed as an alternative protein to soybean meal, which contains interesting types and amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and tocopherols. Camelina cake, on average, is 34% protein and 10% fat with protein including 38% essential amino acids with 2.65% methionine.

Camelina can be included in the feed of laying hens up to a maximum of 10%. In the field trial, 3.5% camelina meal replaced the same amount of soybean meal and 1.5% camelina oil was also added to the feed. Subsequent trials have supported the possibility of increasing the meal percentage and, with specific varieties characterized by low anti-nutritional factors, there is potentially no need to set limits.

The trial indicated that camelina meal and oil can be fed throughout the productive life cycle of hens with no effects on laying parameters, higher omega 3 content and longer productive life. chickens and improved animal welfare.

Sprouted wheat and vetch seeds

Another trial involved sprouted wheat and vetch seeds, testing their nutritional value, including amino acid profiles. Trypsin inhibitor activity was also assessed in vetches to assess changes in anti-nutritional factors. The sprouted seeds were then fed to the layers, who preferred the vetch sprouts. There was no loss of nutritional value due to sprouting, although starch was converted to sugars in the process. Feed value begins to drop at day 5. Crude protein and amino acid profiles did not change with germination.

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