Milan Hruby, ADM Animal Nutrition's vice president of creation, design and development and keynote speaker at the upcoming Feed Mill of the Future Conference, joins the Chat to discuss the pathways to net-zero emissions in animal feed production.
Interview with Milan Hruby, vice president of creation, design and development, ADM Animal Nutrition
Jackie Roembke, Editor-in-Chief, WATT Feed Brands: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Feed Strategy Chat. I'm your host, Jackie Roembke, editor-in-chief of WATT Feed Brands and Feed Strategy magazine.
This edition of Feed Strategy Chat is brought to you by the Feed Mill of the Future Conference. This half-day event will bring together leading feed industry experts to examine emerging feed mill technologies poised to impact animal feed manufacturing. It will be held on January 30 at IPPE 2024. The conference is produced by Feed Strategy and Feed and Grain, organized in partnership with the American Feed Industry Association. To learn more about the 2024 edition of the Feed Mill of the Future Conference and to get information on how to register, please visit www.feedmillofthefuture.com.
Today, we're joined by Milan Hruby, vice president of creation, design and development with ADM Animal Nutrition. He's here to discuss Scope 3 life-cycle assessments and feed production — taking the conversation beyond the feed mill to examine the supply chain's carbon footprint.
Hi Milan, how are you today?
Milan Hruby, vice president of creation, design and development, ADM Animal Nutrition: Hi Jackie, thank you very much. How are you?
Roembke: I'm doing great. Thank you so much for being here to discuss LCAs. Let's dive right in. As producers go through the life-cycle analysis process, which inputs typically have the greatest impact on Scope 3 emissions?
Hruby: Great question. If you look at Scope 3 emissions policies for producers, we look at it from both the upstream and downstream side. If you look at the upstream side, it can be fuel and energy activities. It can be things like purchased goods and services by the mills, but it can also be business travel, for example, or employees commuting to work.
For the downstream side, typically we talk about transportation and distribution being part of the indirect Scope 3 emissions.
Roembke: Is there anything that can be done about that? I suspect, on the transportation side, some of those emissions are fixed. How can the producer expect to reduce those?
Hruby: For that one, you could see an opportunity to look at bringing the ingredient sourcing closer to the mill. If you're able to bring the raw materials in from a shorter distance that impacts transportation emissions. Our colleagues in the European Union are looking at sourcing some of the protein meals more locally than bringing them in from overseas. Here, we see more interest in rapeseed meal and sunflower meal, and trying to reduce soybean meal, shortening the [shipping] distance and very clearly impacting the Scope 3 emissions for the producers.
Roembke: Right — and I'm sure ADM is doing some of the things that you just mentioned — but will you please provide additional specific examples of how ADM is collaborating with those upstream raw material sources and how it is working to reduce their emissions?
Hruby: Very good question and comment, Jackie. When we look at the ADM Scope 3 emissions, a large part of these emissions come from the field side. When we are, for example, purchasing commodities, what can we do from our side to reduce those Scope 3 emissions? One part is that we are starting to work with some of the growers from the commodity side. We have a program within ADM we call re:generations where we try to bring some regenerative agriculture approaches to grow ingredients, whether it is focusing on tillage, whether it's focusing on the use of fertilizers, which in the end impacts the final ingredients acres and impairs the Scope 3 emissions.
Roembke: Aside from the benefit of improved sustainability, are there additional, maybe lesser known, benefits for ADM and its customers by embracing these efforts?
Hruby: My background is very much in innovation. Administration is by training. [Innovation is] where my expertise is. We can do quite a lot on the ADM side, both in our own plants when we produce, for example, complete feeds, but also, for example, with customers with their own feed mills, and who can take advantage of some of the strategies we can recommend. But as a nutritionist, we look more closely at raw material analysis.
If we know more accurately what's in these raw materials, because you know, even corn is not uniform from season to season. Soybean meal is also variable in its content and digestibility of nutrients. If we can have that first step, we analyze those ingredients very well, and then we are formulating the diets, with a very good understanding of the ingredients we are using. We don't have to use high safety margins. We don't have to overfeed nutrients. Of course, we contribute more thermal performance of the animals, less feed coming to the farms that is also impacting that manure production. Again, less trucks leaving the farms with it.
So as an efficiency, we can do quite a lot in the process. Whether it is reducing, for example, protein levels in some of our diets, using feed-grade amino acids to have optimal levels of amino acids, using enzymes in botanicals to improve digestibility, looking at particle size of the feed we are feeding because that can have an impact.
There are a number of steps we can take. And many nutritionists maybe already implement them. But there's a lot of new good research and experience ADM can share globally, to not just help with performance, but also support sustainability, support the Scope 3 emission reduction goals.
Roembke: Very good. Now, as the feed industry's focus evolves beyond performance and profitability to include sustainability, how do you suggest feed producers find the right balance across all three?
Hruby: Great question. When we talk performance, profitability and sustainability, all three are important. Focus on one and positively impact the others. We see as nutritionists that if we can produce feeds which support optimal performance and support healthy animal status, that typically has an impact on profitability as well. These animals are more efficient, they are needing less feed to produce similar protein and that has a direct impact on sustainability.
In many cases, highly performing animals, healthy animals, turn into the most profitable solution for the producer. They can support each other.
Roembke: Thank you so much. Now, if you'd like to learn more about LCAs and feed production, attend Milan's presentation at the Feed Mill of the Future Conference. The event is held at IPPE 2024 on January 30. For more information about the conference and how to register, please visit www.feedmillofthefuture.com.
Thank you so much, Milan, and thanks to you for tuning in.
ABOUT THE FEED MILL OF THE FUTURE CONFERENCE
The half-day 2024 Feed Mill of the Future Conference, organized in partnership with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) 2024, brings together leading feed industry experts to examine emerging feed mill technologies and processes that will impact animal feed manufacturing in the years ahead.
The event will be held at the 2024 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) as part of the feed education program.
REGISTRATION IS OPEN! To attend the Feed Mill of the Future Conference, attendees must first register to attend IPPE 2024. See www.ippexpo.org, and visit the “Education Programs” for details.