Skip to main content

Tackling animal nutrition challenges together

At the event "40 years of the DLG working group on feed and feeding as a driver for innovation" on June 28, 2022 in Groß-Umstadt, the challenges for the future were discussed. Modern livestock farming, in particular the design of feed and feeding, has been improved many times and significantly over the past 40 years, and in many areas meets the benchmarks for the farm animal, the livestock farmer and society.

However, the current global dislocations, the reputational crisis of livestock production and the challenges posed by climate change, as well as the emissions and resource availability associated with livestock production, are creating significant issues. This relates to the scale and nature of livestock production and the issue of food competition.

It is necessary to adapt the future design of feed and feeding to this and to launch the necessary innovations in agriculture and the entire feed industry.

The most important task is the consistent further development of the topics of feeding and animal welfare as well as feeding and the environment. In the pig sector, both topics are already relatively far advanced. In the near future, the working group will therefore focus its attention more on the poultry sector. To this end, cooperation with the Focus on Animal Welfare network is also to be strengthened.

Another important field is the issue of food competition. It has always been the strength of the feed and feeding sector to refine by-products from food processing as well as energy production. The mixed feed concept opens up extensive possibilities here, because it is not the individual feed per se but the energy, nutrient and active ingredient content of the combination of the individual components in the complete feed or the daily ration that is decisive for the feed value.

A particular challenge is the evaluation of the by-products, especially the liquid ones. Here, too, rapid analysis and digitalization open up new perspectives. In addition, it is necessary to objectively evaluate the food competition and the environmental impact. Existing approaches need to be made more practical and general recommendations for application need to be developed and implemented.

To meet the challenges, feed additives also represent an important area in livestock feeding. This relates, for example, to improving the availability and conservation of energy and nutrients. Using more of what grows is an important maxim, which is realized, for example, through the strategic use of silage additives in coarse feeds or the fermentation of feeds for pigs.

But also the objective evaluation of additives to reduce negative environmental effects, e.g. methane in cattle, are tasks of the working group from the point of view of feed and feeding. The derivation of statements must continue to be knowledge-based, pragmatic and in consultation with stakeholders.

The scientific community is currently working on significant innovations for the energy and nutrient supply of dairy cows and rearing cattle by the Committee for Requirements Standards of the Society for Nutritional Physiology. The next step is to implement these in a comprehensive and beneficial manner for the entire industry, including the livestock concerned and the environment, through the DLG Working Group on Feed and Feeding.

Here, the proven structures within the DLG, science, industry and consulting can be relied upon. The DLG Working Group Feed and Feeding represents the working platform for the development of generally valid recommendations on feed and feeding in Germany. This takes place in a strong technical exchange between the participants from science, consulting, analytics and industry. Further information: DLG Agricultural Technical Center: Dr. Detlef Kampf, Tel.: 069 24788 320,