Animal feed resources information system

Broadening horizons

Broadening horizons is a monthly column written by feed specialists focused on scientific developments in animal feeds and feeding.


Broadening Horizons N°51

By Harinder P.S. Makkar, Emily Addonizio and Lemma Gizachew

To better monitor the national and regional livestock sectors and formulate adequate development strategies, it is essential to develop systematic approaches to accurately assess livestock feed supplies and obtain better insight into how feed resources are being utilized. The latter information on use of feed resources is achieved by characterizing the feeding systems. A detailed information on feeding systems in lowlands of Ethiopia is presented here. Also approaches to meet the deficiency of animal feed in the dry seasons are presented.

Broadening Horizons N°50

By Seyoum Bediye, Gemechu Nemi and Harinder Makkar

In terms of livestock wealth, Ethiopia is endowed with largest domestic animal population in Africa, composed of diverse animal species and breeds. Animal production is key to economic development in Ethiopia. This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the current status of the feed industry. Currently 32 private companies and 28 farmers’ unions are engaged in compound feed production, which produce only 61,416 tonnes of feed in a year. The Ethiopian feed industry faces several challenges such as high cost of ingredients, unfair taxing policy, low demand of compound feed, among others. Opportunities, however, also exist for the feed industry, which are also highlighted.

Broadening Horizons N°49

By Harinder P.S. Makkar1, Emily Addonizio2, Lemma Gizachew2, Alberto Giani2 and Abdoul Karim Bah2

In countries across the Horn of Africa and in many other parts of the world, the lack of feed inflicts major adverse effects on livestock during times of drought. This has been identified as a major problem by development agencies, NGOs, researchers and extension workers alike, and one which must be addressed urgently. This article discusses and prioritises feeding strategies, which can be used under emergencies in dry areas.

Broadening Horizons N°48

The shortage of green fodder in most of the Middle East, African and Asian countries has generated a renewed interest in hydroponic fodder production. The technology requires only 1-3% space and 2-5% water for irrigation in comparison to that required under traditional fodder production. Furthermore, on per unit area basis, the fodder yield is 3-5 times higher than the traditional farming. A critical assessment of hi-tech and low-cost hydroponic systems revealed that the latter has an edge over the former in all aspects. Using the low-cost systems, the fodder production can be economized and these systems can be applied in situations faced with scarce water and land supply, and where the traditionally grown fodder is available in low amounts and at high price.

Broadening Horizons N°47

By 2050, human population will reach 9.6 billion people with ever higher demand for animal products. However, animal production is increasingly criticized for the competition between feed and food crops and for low efficiency of conversion of food crops to animal products. Arguing the health benefits of animal products for humans, this paper suggests to look beyond the comparison between food and feed seen in terms of energy or protein only. Other issues that need consideration are feed edibility, use of land, coproducts production and waste reduction.

Broadening Horizons N°46

M. Wadhwa, M.P.S. Bakshi and Harinder P.S. Makkar

Empty pea pods is an important byproduct of pea production. It is a valuable feed for livestock. Empty pea pods can be offered fresh alone or with waste-resources such as cull carrots. In the dried form they can be included in rations with forage legume hay like berseem. They can be ensiled with other byproducts such as wheat straw and then fed. This article provides information on the composition and nutritive value of empty pea pods and the ways they can be used to feed livestock.

Broadening Horizons N°45

Keerti S. Rathore, Thomas C. Wedegaertner, and Kater Hake

Cotton plant is not only the most important source of natural textile fibre in the world but also one of the most important source of oil and cottonseed meal that can make available 10.8 million tons crude protein per year. However, the nutritive value of this protein is hampered by a toxic substance, gossypol, present in seed glands. Gossypol is detrimental to monogastric animals as well as humans. However, it acts as a deterrent to pests and is beneficial for the plant. This article reports use of new generation biotechnologies to engineer a cotton plant that resulted in the reduction of gossypol from ~10,000 ppm to about 250 ppm in only the seed, without affecting gossypol levels in other parts of the plant and thus maintaining the pest-deterrent traits. Cottonseed meal produced from such ultra-low gossypol cotton has potential use in the diets of poultry, pigs and aquatic species.

Broadening Horizons N°44

Mohinder P.S. Bakshi, M. Wadhwa and Harinder P.S. Makkar

The production of baby corn intended for human consumption has been steadily increasing in the past decade, resulting in byproducts such as fresh or ensiled baby corn husk and baby corn fodder. The use of these byproducts for animal feeding not only improves food security but also contributes to alleviation of environmental issues associated with their disposal. This article deals with different uses of baby corn byproducts for livestock feeding.

Broadening Horizons N°43, July 2017

Harinder Makkar

Ergot is a disease of cereal crops and grasses that is caused by fungi of the Claviceps genus. Claviceps includes about 50 known species, mostly in tropical regions. The sclerotia of Claviceps species are known as ergot. The fungi produce ergot alkaloids, also denoted ergolines, which are responsible for a disease called ergotism in livestock and humans. The article presents the symptoms of ergotism in animals, and the treatments and feed regulations associated with ergot.

Broadening Horizons N°42, June 2017

By John Moran (Profitable Dairy Systems, Kyabram, Victoria, Australia) and Geoff Walker (Land O’ Lakes, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

With increasing per capita consumption of milk and other dairy products throughout developing countries, virtually every country in southern Asia is seeking to increase its domestic production of raw milk. However, the continuous use of certain traditional practices (feeding, watering, stock management, housing and comfort) in smallholder dairy farms has adversely impacted on the rate of development of such dairy industries. We have a challenge to ensure that better models, such as those used in Vietnam and Thailand, are spread much more widely than is the case at present in traditional dairying sectors such as in Bangladesh and other countries in the Indian subcontinent.

Broadening Horizons N°41, May 2017

By Breanna M. Roque1, Jayasooriya A. D. R. N. Appuhamy1,2, and Ermias Kebreab1

1University of California and 2Iowa State University

While exogenous enzymes have long been proven to be effective in non-ruminant diets, the use of exogenous enzymes in ruminant diets has been limited. This paper reviews amylolytic, proteolytic and fibrolytic enzymes and their potential role in ruminant diets. The few studies conducted so far on effectiveness of ß-mannanase in ruminants have shown beneficial nutritional effects in goats, beef and lactating cows. In addition, there is some indication of health benefits from ß-mannanase in ruminants as well. 

Broadening Horizons N°40, April 2017

By Harinder Makkar, FAO

Against the backdrop of ongoing climate change, frequent and long droughts, and land degradation, cactus has a special place in future sustainable food production systems in dry areas. This article provides a summary of the value of cactus in feeding strategies for drier places and as a climate-smart agricultural practice.

Broadening Horizons N°39, March 2017

By Carolyn Opio, FAO

The unique ability of ruminants to use high roughage feedstuffs is obtained through a symbiosis between the ruminant and the diverse ruminal populations of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and methanogens. The feed consumed by the animal provides nutrients to rumen microorganisms. During the microbial fermentation, both useful (e.g. microbial mass and short chain fatty acids) and waste (e.g. methane and carbon dioxide) products are produced. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and a pollutant. Methane production by ruminant is however variable, highly dependent on the quality of feeds. This paper, in addition to presenting global methane production scenarios, illustrates how methane emissions could be reduced and animal productivity enhanced from different dairy cattle production systems in a country.

Broadening Horizons N°38, February 2017

By Paula Kovalsky, BIOMIN

Mycotoxins and multi-mycotoxin occurrences are a global threat. They can be present from field to storage facilities. This paper, resulting from a long-term survey of animal feeds for toxins produced by fungi, provides an overview of the incidence of mycotoxins in the world in 2015 and 2016. This paper also points out the fact that toxicological interactions between mycotoxins may enhance their toxicological effects on animals. Mycotoxins thus require constant monitoring and permanent research to prevent and mitigate their harmful effects on animals.

Broadening Horizons N°37, January 2017

By Vishnu Sharma and Sanjita Sharma, Rajasthan University of Veterinary & Animal Science

With the increasing demand for livestock products there is an increasing need for adequate, safe, and wholesome feed materials for the animal. Surveillance of animal feed comes as a first critical point to deliver safe animal derived-foods. Following the paradigm of One Health concept for human and animal populations, as a joint initiative between FAO, WHO and OIE and the objectives of an integrated food safety control system from farm to table, risk assessment methodologies present now an integrated approach of the animal exposure and risk assessment, and a quantification of human exposure from animal-derived foods such as milk, meat and eggs, taking into account typical consumption patterns. This paper presents a list of the risks to be assessed in feeds, it underlines some of the gaps to be filled by future research, and it provides some suggestions for improving feed safety at global level.

Broadening Horizons N°36, December 2016

By Timothy Herrman (Texas A&M) and Harinder Makkar (FAO)

This proficiency programme highlights the global aflatoxin testing capability. It also reflects the priority in testing and managing aflatoxin risk in different regions of the world. For example, several activities including the Aflatoxin Proficiency Testing and Control in Africa (APTECA) programme by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the Laboratory Quality Systems online course offered by Texas A&M in collaboration with FAO, and several other FAO steps taken to assist adoption of good laboratory practices and laboratory quality control systems (FAO, 2016) contributed to the quality test results by participants from previously established laboratory networks. 

Broadening Horizons N°35, November 2016

By V. Baeten and P. Dardenne

The use of near-infrared (NIR) technologies for the detection of contaminants and undesirable substances in food and feed products is not widely practised. There have been many papers, however, on extensive studies on this topic (see Baeten et al., 2015). They have demonstrated some unique advantages of using this fingerprinting technique in the continuing effort to give the stakeholders the means to detect contaminants at all stages of the food and feed chains.

Broadening Horizons N°34, October 2016

By L.A. den Hartog, C.H.M. Smits, and W.H. Hendriks

The rapid development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in human health care urges the need for effective strategies to reduce antibiotic use in animal production. The Netherlands and Denmark have already implemented successful strategies to reduce antibiotic usage in animal production. Part of the success of the reduction in antibiotic use may be attributed to the wide application of selected feed additives and combinations thereof targeting intestinal microbiota and immunity. Productivity and health responses can be obtained in animals similar to those reported for antimicrobial growth promoters by improving microbiological quality of drinking water and feed, stabilization of the intestinal microbiota and enforcement of the mucosal barrier of the host. Regulatory recognition of the prophylactic effects of feed additives in animal health should further facilitate the progress to reduce AMR.

Broadening Horizons N°33, September 2016

By N.K.S. Gowda, S. Anandan and D. T. Pal, ICAR- National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Bangalore 560 030, India

Pineapple fruit is processed for juice, jam and canned products for human consumption. Out of the whole fruit, only about 30% is edible and remaining 70% (crown, peels, pulp) is non-edible for human consumption. In India this crop is grown in about 90 000 hectares of land and 30–35% is processed in industries and more than 1.3 million ton of this non-edible residue is available annually and is being wasted. The pineapple fruit residue (PFR) contains high moisture (65–70%) and total sugar (>50%) making it susceptible for fungal growth and spoilage within 2 days. A study was undertaken at National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology (NIANP), Bangalore to improve the keeping quality of PFR through silage technology.

Broadening Horizons N°32, August 2016

By Dr John Moran, Profitable Dairy Systems, Kyabram, Victoria, Australia

The concept of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is not new. However it is when applied to quantifying the performance of farmers in the developing tropics. Expressed simply, KPIs are diagnostic tools allowing farmers to improve their farm productivity and hence their financial performance. Farmers can use them to identify weaknesses in, as well as set specific targets for, their farms. They are more likely to want to improve their systems if they know by how much they are less productive compared to others of similar herd sizes.