“In order for a producer to build a complex diet with precise nutrient concentrations they need to know with certainty the nutrient content of the ingredients they are working with.
Our developmental labs around the world and our two innovation centers rely on wet chemistry analysis and Near InfraRed Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS) to scan raw materials to predict nutrient quantity and quality and drive animal performance,” said Ad van Wesel, global swine technology leader at Cargill.
He said Cargill Animal Nutrition (CAN) also carries out in vivo trials for validation purposes at its two global R&D hubs.
“This approach gives us a better understanding of nutrient loads and animal demands. Fundamentally, we are moving away from a model that relies on static table values for formulation and shifting to one based on dynamic values,” said van Wesel.
He was speaking to FeedNavigator during Cargill’s biannual animal nutrition event last week in the Netherlands.
The seminar, which had feed efficiency as its theme this year, saw around 250 to 300 of Cargill’s feed miller and meat production customers from 35 countries come to Noordwijk. The three day event looked at how to optimize swine, ruminant and poultry nutrition.
NIRS is a prediction based technology that shines a light on an ingredient sample and measures the light waves that reflect off.
These reflected wave lengths are then compared with hundreds of other samples in a database through calibration equations that then predict the nutrients contained in the sample.
The quality of NIR analyses is dependent on the quality of the wet chemistry analyses that were used to develop the NIR calibrations.
“Other companies use such technology but we do it on a massive scale. We have about 300 NIR machines and we take in delivery of a huge number of samples from a wide geography. In assessing soybean meal, for example, we look at around 400 samples from North America to India to South Africa to get a digestibility pattern.
After measuring the nutrient value of the feed material we update our global databases accordingly to ensure precision feeding in the field,” said van Wesel.
The system allows Cargill to match nutrient knowledge with nutrient demand in line with an individual farmer’s strategy whether that is achieving the lowest feed costs per pig or the highest output per pig place per year, he said.
“There is no ideal pig feed composition. There are multiple parameters that must be taken into account in feed formulation at any given time. If pig prices are low, and feed prices are high or vice versa, you formulate accordingly, increasing or decreasing lysine dosages to suit your needs.
Our feed formulation model always takes into consideration current market conditions,” added van Wesel.