Providing laying hens with a soya-free diet is possible says the European animal feed company, ForFarmers, which is pursuing research geared to develop feeds with less, or even no, soya content.
The company has also been looking at creating soya-free diets for broilers but says that is a “much greater” challenge.
“Providing laying hens with a soya-free diet is possible,” said ForFarmers innovation manager Albert Dijkslag, while adding that alternative, more expensive, sources of protein are needed in order for the animals to maintain the same performance levels.
“This research, however, as well as experience already gained in this field, has already allowed us to successfully produce soya-free feeds for this sector.”
With respect to broilers, the company said the challenge is much greater, as broilers require higher levels of quality protein than laying hens.
“Although we have managed to formulate soya-free diets which will achieve the same performance levels by using the correct alternative raw materials, further research into the exact replacement sources of protein is still required,” said ForFarmers’ feed expert. Theo Schamp.
The company said the public release of its soya-free development update, is in line with its sustainability approach and societal concerns about the environmental impact of certain raw materials.
“Research by ForFarmers has shown that, in principle, producing soya-free feeds is possible,” it said, adding that it was definitely “making progress” on the issue.
“For the use of soya-free diets to be expanded, however, a different integral approach is needed within the total feed chain, which takes into account the higher feed costs and other disadvantages such as higher phosphate emissions, a larger CO2 footprint and the fact that more land is required to grow the raw materials,” said the company.
“It is not anticipated, therefore, that soya-free feeds will be produced or used on a large scale in the short term. As a result, the current focus remains on responsible sourcing of soya.
“ForFarmers is moving forward with its research to develop feeds which exclude soya, however, and is actively working together with chain partners in their search for solutions to these market concepts. The next steps in this research are therefore aimed at mitigating the current disadvantages, as ForFarmers is determined to continue to find ways to make food production more sustainable.”