Equipping livestock farmers with knowledge about advanced feeding solutions is a key objective of the EuroTier 2022 trade fair taking place in Hanover, Germany, Nov. 15-18. Sustainable animal housing concepts for successful livestock feeding will be presented with the underpinning goals of optimal animal welfare and comprehensive environmental protection as well as commercial viability.
Today, new challenges to global food security are being caused not only by the war in Ukraine but also by climate change with temperatures and drought affecting agricultural yields. In addition to its focus on the energy transition, animal welfare and biodiversity, this year's EuroTier will also explore food and supply security. The impact of the latest developments on the markets is considerable. Several compound feed components are currently in short supply and expensive, putting livestock farmers under pressure. At the trade fair, the feed industry will therefore be discussing alternative sources of nutrients and will be presenting concepts to replace cereals, rapeseed and soybean as well as sunflower seeds from Ukraine.
Security of supply in times of crisis
"The reduced availability of seeds and agricultural inputs in addition to reduced, or failed harvests, determine the quantities available," says Jan Lahde, president of Deutscher Verband Tiernahrung e.V. (DVT The German Animal Nutrition Association). Germany's self-sufficiency rate of around 30% makes it dependent on imports, particularly for protein feed, such as rapeseed meal. This year, Ukraine will not be able to perform its role as an important supplier of GMO-free raw materials. This means alternative sources of corn must be secured.
"Efficient land use and optimal feed utilization are now the order of the day," says Lahde. Since July 1, in Germany "ecological priority areas" have been made available, an area of some one million hectares may now be farmed to produce fodder. Green fodder, silage, hay or straw are now often used as valuable feed in mixed rations, either because of their structural effectiveness or for reasons of feed shortage.
Exhibitors at EuroTier will be presenting a range of technical solutions that offer optimized feeding. An example is the company Siloking with its straw chopping equipment suitable for cattle herds. To prevent the livestock from selecting individual feed elements during feed intake, straw must be both cut appropriately short and mixed in well. For fast cutting of larger quantities of straw, Siloking has now added an option to its straw chopper for the self-propelled feed mixer.
The hydraulically-driven straw chopper is mounted directly behind the cutterhead. In chopping mode, the flow of forage is diverted to the straw chopper by a flap that can be swiveled into the milling channel. The fast chopping knives knock the straw through the counter cutting edges and carries it in small pieces back to the loading conveyor belt, which then transports it to the mixing hopper. The result is improved ration sizes, reduced feed losses and time saved during loading.
Optimum feed supply and fewer losses
Feeding ruminants, such as cattle and sheep is not only a question of the right quantity and the ideal time interval for feeding, but also of a balanced mixture of basic and concentrated feed. Different feeds and feed quantities are needed, especially on large farms where the age and condition of the animals can vary greatly. Modern, automatic systems offer the farmer the possibility not only to premix rations for the individual animals according to their needs but also to dispense them according to schedule , even in places that are difficult for the farmer to reach.
An example is the "Vector" feeding system from Lely that automatically detects available feed quantities using a mixing and feeding robot that measures the feed height in a specific section to determine whether the ration needs to be supplemented. This means there is never too much or too little feed available. An additional benefit is reduced crowding during feed intake resulting in less stress.
Trends in livestock nutrition
Scientific know-how about the raw materials and the individual feed production processes form the basis for high-quality feed. EuroTier plays an important role in providing answers to the requirements of feeding management.
With this year's theme "Transforming Animal Farming," EuroTier will be guiding the way in its "DLG Spotlight: Feed for Future" in Hall 21, where leading companies from the international feed industry will be presenting their solutions and discuss new processes and innovative feeding formulas as part of their participation in EuroTier's technical program. Algae and insects are an example of novel protein sources that will be discussed, a timely topic since the European Union last year approved the use of insect meal as animal feed on farms. Some equipment manufacturers exhibiting at EuroTier are already active in this market.
WEDA Dammann and Westerkamp GmbH will be presenting a complete insect feeding system for the Polish feed manufacturer HiProMine. The company from Robakowo near Poznan breeds insect-based proteins on an industrial scale using the black soldier fly. The larva of the fly, which can be up to 17 millimeters long, utilizes almost all organic residues. Depending on the feed composition, larvae with a protein content of up to 55% are produced. The rearing stations, in which the fly lays its eggs in a honeycomb structure, must be properly moistened, illuminated and heated to 30 degrees Celsius. The fattened, adult maggots are harvested for feed production.
"In such projects, our expertise from the automated liquid feeding systems for pig production comes into play," says Jens Feldhaus, WEDA product manager. The correct substrate mix, its smooth logistics as well as efficient chopping capability and hygiene system are of utmost importance in the breeding facilities. With the new plant, 550 tons of substrate are produced and fed on site every day. The technology creates a value chain in which the insect forms a bridge between plant waste and sustainable animal feed.
EuroTier 2022 will be exploring these and more feed topics in-depth in its DLG-Spotlight: Feed for Future.
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