in the mix
Adding correctly dosed amino acids from Evonik to animal feed makes meat production more efficient and more environmentally friendly. But the Group’s animal feed experts are delivering far more than these valuable nutrients in themselves.
In agricultural meat production, everything revolves around livestock and animal feed. Animal feed accounts for between 60 and 70 percent of the total cost of meat production, and it also accounts for most of its environmental footprint. For example, the cultivation of protein-rich fodder plants such as soybeans requires vast amounts of arable land, while other protein sources such as fish meal are accelerating overfishing in the oceans.
If animals are not optimally metabolizing their feed, much of it is excreted without being used. The additional animal waste pollutes water sources, among other things, and it also wastes environmental as well as economic resources. Today farmers and feed producers are responding to this challenge by adjusting the nutrients in their animal feed to precisely meet the needs of particular animal species.
Head of the Methionine & Derivatives Product Line
Essential amino acids are an important aspect of this effort. Amino acids are among the basic building blocks of all living things. Human beings and animals need to take in amino acids through the food they consume. However, amino acids are optimally metabolized only if they are consumed in the right mixing ratio. In order to constantly guarantee the correct mixing ratio for every animal species and every fodder plant in spite of natural fluctuations, expert knowledge is required.
Evonik Industries therefore supplies not only the four most important amino acids for animal feed but also complete systems for their targeted dosing. To accomplish this, the Group also employs its own animal feed specialists and carries out cooperative research with around three dozen universities and research institutes all over the world. The objective of this research is to find out what pigs, chickens, dairy cows, fish, and shrimps each require in order to thrive. After all, every animal species, every farming method, and every new breed has different requirements.
In order to apply this knowledge in practice, Evonik supports all wholesale producers of mixed animal feed, for example through special analyses, consultation, and dosing systems. For example, on behalf of its customers Evonik is using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) to regularly check the actual nutrient content of well over 100 different raw materials for animal feed that are sold all over the world. Hundreds of thousands of such analyses are integrated into Evonik’s advisory service.
Evonik employees provide on-site consultation in 120 countries—wherever raw materials for animal feed grow and meat is produced. Together with their customers, they look at the actual nutrient content of animal feed, the animals’ requirements, current feed prices on the world market, and recently also the environmental footprint, in order to determine how to mix the optimal animal feed in terms of nutritional biology, cost-effectiveness, and environmental friendliness.
The addition of between a few hundred grams and a few kilograms of methionine, lysine, threonine or tryptophan per ton of feed makes a crucial difference. That’s why the dosage should be extremely precise so that valuable nutrients are not wasted once again. Here too, Evonik is a leader when it comes to customer service. For example, it provides dosing systems for its customers’ mixing operations to make sure the feed always contains exactly the nutrients the animals need.
Whether it’s Pekin ducks, brood carp or shrimps, Evonik knows the optimal amino acid profile for almost every animal species and has a number of specialized products in its portfolio. Dairy cows, for example benefit from Mepron®, a methionine product that was developed especially for the digestive tract of these ruminants. It moves through the cow’s rumen without decomposing and thus can be utilized especially well.