One of the most discussed topics among pig and poultry producers is sustainability. This encompasses a wide range of objectives, from increasing the usage of renewable energy to reducing dependence on Brazilian soya.
Why is Brazilian soya a problem?
Due to high demand in soya, the Amazon rainforest surface area has been dramatically reduced over the last few decades. In 2006, the landmark Amazon Soy Moratorium was introduced, banning the sale of soya grown on land deforested after 2008, resulting in a reduction of tree clearing in the Amazon by 84% until 2012. Unfortunately, in recent years deforestation has climbed steeply, reaching a 15-year high in 2021 as farmers have been able to sell crop as deforestation-free, while still clearing land for different commodities.
Why is soya necessary in monogastric animal diets?
After the BSE outbreak in the 90s, a law was introduced in the EU to ban animal processed proteins (PAP) as part of the diet of farm animals. The only alternative to meet protein requirements comes from the utilisation of vegetable ingredients, mainly legumes, with soya being the most popular. The EU Commission has recently approved the reintroduction of non-ruminant PAP in pig and poultry rations, but in the UK this is yet to start as we are still to decide our position with regards to this ban lift.
Are there any other alternatives?
There are different legumes that could be utilised to partially replace soya; this is however, challenging as most of these seeds i.e. rapeseed, contain anti-nutritional elements or are of lower quality in terms of amino acids when compared to soyabean. Others, such as sunflower, have high fibre content, which, when fed to a pig or chicken, will reduce feed intake and therefore negatively impact performance.
How can Elanco help?
Elanco’s products such as MaxibanTM, MontebanTM and ColiprotecTM contribute to a better intestinal structure and function in pigs and poultry which positively impacts the health and welfare of the animal, in turn leading to a reduction of mortality, antibiotic usage and leg/feet alterations. Moreover, products such as these, can indirectly reduce the amount of soya consumed per animal as a healthier gut equals an improved FCR (the kilos of feed needed to develop a kilo of bodyweight).
Another Elanco product, HemicellTM HT, which is an enzyme, not only has the same beneficial effects in the gut, it also allows direct reduction of soya oil content in the diets of poultry, and as such can be used as a tool to increase the flexibility of feed formulations.
By helping pig and poultry producers reduce their reliance on soya for the growth of their animals, we can help turn the tide on deforestation and improve the health of our planet.