The Alltech Feeding Times Issue 34 - Summer 2021 Summer 2021 - Page 16

HOW DO WE VERIFY SUSTAINABLE ANIMAL FEED IN RUMINANT PRODUCTION ?

People interpret sustainability in different ways — hence the uncertainty and divisiveness the topic can create in discussions . In contrast with other industries , the agri-food sector has the unique position of being a solutions provider when it comes to mitigating emissions and supporting biodiversity in our local environments . Animal feed is integral to profitable and efficient dairy and beef farming . Therefore , feed production plays a crucial role in how we lower the environmental impact associated with the food system .
Strengthening the links in our chain
Alltech IFM™ ( in vitro fermentation model ) labs around the world , we can verify diet efficiency in greater detail and where scope exists to lower emissions and improve producer profitability .
Can you verify that ?
It is no longer sufficient to simply claim a low carbon footprint for your livestock production system or animal feed ; this claim needs to be supported by repeatable , measurable and verifiable evidence . Alltech E-CO2 has developed the Feeds EA™ model to help SUMMER ISSUE – JUNE 2021 9
whereby excess mucus is produced. This provides an extra barrier for pathogenic bacteria to cross over, preventing them from binding to the epithelial cells. In cases where there is an actual disease challenge, this is a useful mechanism. However, if birds do not have the correct microbial balance, then it is likely that an inflammatory response will be mounted in response to harmless objects. The excess mucus produced also prevents nutrients from passing to the surface of the villi, which means that feed cannot be used efficiently and nutrients will be wasted. Birds must have all of their nutrient requirements met in order to produce to their genetic potential. If they are deficient in any component, including both micro and macronutrients, their bodily functions will not be as efficient, and as a result, production suffers. A beneficial population Central to gut health is the microbiota. The population of organisms there interacts either directly or indirectly with all bodily systems. As discussed above, many studies have shown that having a diverse, balanced microbiota can help to influence the immune system and improve its functionality. Within the gut, there is an ecosystem, and similar to any closed system, there is competition. Different bacterial species compete with one another to occupy a niche. Developing the correct balance of microbiota starts at birth, and if beneficial organisms can be helped to occupy their niches first, it helps to prevent potentially pathogenic or detrimental bacteria from growing as they are out-competed. The beneficial organisms, by out-competing others, provide a protective barrier for the epithelial cells, preventing pathogens from binding. The microbiota also influences the immune system. Beneficial bacteria help to promote the inner mucus layer and interact with Peyer’s patches. This helps to bolster the immune system, leading to better overall health and performance. Inflammatory responses, when elicited, lead to the secretion of certain chemicals. These chemicals stress the bird and gut and, as a result, the tight junction proteins, which hold intestinal cells together, can become less functional. When this happens, bacteria can translocate into the bloodstream, where they can access many areas, such as joints or the ovaries. E. coli is a common culprit, and translocation leads to leg health problems and peritonitis. Improving tight junction integrity by promoting microbial diversity will help to prevent issues later in life that may have big impacts economically. Improving gut health Gut health can be improved in many ways. Actigen ® , for example, is an easy means of helping to improve microbial diversity with proven performance benefits. The careful management of biosecurity and heat stress 16 are other means of benefiting gut health, although the biggest impact comes from improving gut health in parent flocks. Microbiota are passed down from the mother to the offspring, so improving the diversity of the mother’s microbiota will ensure that the organisms that seed the hatchling’s gut first are more beneficial. The GI tract is the only organ through which the nutrients from feed can enter the bird, and as such, improving its structure and functionality is a clear way to help birds produce to their full genetic potential. Gut health is a limiting factor for poultry performance in all species. A healthy gut will improve feed conversion, meaning that a producer will achieve more from less, not only improving their performance but their sustainability credentials, too. Key to extending laying cycles and improving egg production is the health and well-being of the hen. Ensuring that the bird’s nutrient requirements are met from hatch will prevent stress from being placed on her bodily systems, setting her up for a longer and more productive laying cycle. Furthermore, due to the negative impact that the inflammatory response can have on the bird through stress, improving the functionality of the immune system by improving microbial diversity will also help improve her overall health status. This directly improves welfare parameters. Gut health is relatively easy to improve with various implementations, but if not managed correctly, it can have disastrous economic impacts on the profitability of production systems. Rather than focusing on the least-cost formulation of diets, perhaps producers should consider what increase in return they might see after implementing a gut health program. It is truly an economic proposition. Emily Marshall works as a member of Alltech’s gut health platform and is a technical manager for Alltech’s European poultry squad. She splits her time between working with customers to help them improve performance, writing articles for publications and speaking at discussion groups, in addition to working as a liaison between Alltech’s marketing and research teams. Prior to joining Alltech, Emily worked for Tesco. Initially joining the company as an intern while also studying biology at the University of Nottingham, Emily held a variety of roles there, beginning as a meat, fish, poultry and eggs (MFPE) team product quality intern. Upon graduating, Emily rejoined Tesco as a commercial graduate buyer and later moved into her second rotation on the MFPE team as a poultry technologist. The inside track on gut health SEED the gut with favorable organisms to ensure the young animals have a right start. FEED a favorable environment for more efficient nutrient absorption. WEED out unfavorable organisms, maintaining microbial diversity & improving the animal’s natural defenses. Animals with good gut health use feed efficiently, even when subjected to stress. Alltech’s Seed, Feed, Weed program is designed to be sustainable, holistic, farm-specific and cost-effective, all while improving bird performance. Get more information on Alltech’s Seed, Feed, Weed program at https://www.alltech.com/gut-health THE FEEDING TIMES Alltech.com AlltechNaturally @Alltech