The United Nations’ department of Economic and Social Affairs released a report in 2012 that said the world’s population will reach an estimated 9 billion by the year 2050. This has placed a great deal of emphasis on agriculture and nonagriculture entities to determine the best ways to produce food for future generations. The current facts are that the amount of arable land to plow and sow is limited, and meat consumption is increasing as world economies evolve. Given the finite resources that are available for food production, technology will need to provide solutions for feeding an ever growing population. This is why Feed & Grain has partnered with AgGateway and the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) to develop the Information Technology Innovation Award, acknowledging the work being done to make the process of putting food on the table more efficient and economical.
This year’s winner is Adisseo for its web-based platform, Precise Nutrition Evaluation (PNE). PNE combines an internet-accessible database with near infrared spectroscopy (NIR), in vivo (animal feeding studies) analyses of ingredients for the determination of apparent metabolizable energy (AME) and digestibility of amino acids (DAA), and ISO-certified wet chemistry methods that are both stringent and high quality. Together, PNE delivers an accurate, near-instantaneous nutritional analysis for the three most expensive nutrients within 25 feed ingredients.
Adisseo’s PNE service gives nutritionists, livestock producers and feed manufacturers more control over the nutritional composition of their feeds. In addition, purchasing decisions can be adjusted based upon ingredient quality, thus providing a better, more economical match between nutrition vs. animal requirements for higher feed quality and more efficient food production. Rob Shirley, poultry technical manager, and Steve Gately, director of rovabio enzyme business, of Adisseo help explain what PNE is and how it benefits livestock .
Prior to NIR, resources for determining the nutritional quality of feedstuffs were fairly limited, and for the most part, based on word-of-mouth, tables and wet chemistry. While suppliers, colleagues and friends provide word-of-mouth information, books and magazines provide a reference of “table values” for the nutritional content of ingredients. Both sources are capable of providing guidance on the nutritional composition of ingredients; however, the data from each are for all intents and purposes inaccurate because they represent a snapshot in time, can be extremely dated, do not reflect continuously changing circumstances that lead to nutritional variation (i.e., type of cultivar, geographic region, weather, harvesting, storage, manufacturing process, etc.), and can be from a mixture of wet chemistry procedures that may be poorly defined and/or conflict with each other. To get around this uncertainty and help ensure a certain level of animal performance, ample safety margins for key nutrient matrices are often built into formulations with the idea that it is better to have too much than too little. This over-formulation strategy often costs money, and may not necessarily result in better animal performance.
In order to reduce safety margins, feed manufacturers and integrators can analyze the nutritional content of ingredients on a regular basis using wet chemistry and in vivo analyses. The information that is generated is considered more dynamic and “real time” because it not only reflects analytical information that is generated on a regular schedule, but is also sometimes derived from actual in vivo (in life) feeding studies. As data are made available, they can be entered into a database to show trends over time. Unfortunately, in any quality control program, analytical reports are often received days to weeks after the ingredients of interest are consumed by livestock. Putting this into perspective, Gately explained that “sending a sample out for metabolizable energy and digestible amino acids tests in the past would take you weeks and weeks to get an analysis back.”