She told delegates at FeedNavigator’s face-to-face event, Feed Protein Vision 2018, held earlier this month, that livestock production is moving towards an increased use of local feedstuffs.
Rauw is coordinating SusPig, an three-year EU funded project evaluating whether it is possible to improve the overall sustainability of European pig production when animals are fed diets based on local feedstuffs including co-products like DDGS, legumes and rapeseed meal.
A different type of pig might be required in this respect though, with selection of traits for robustness rather than high productivity needed, she said.
Evidently, a pig production model that relies on maximizing lower quality, local protein feeds will be more costly, in much the same way that pig meat from animals raised with higher welfare standards carries a heftier price tag, she said.
So pig producers would have to be interested in pursuing this, and developing a concept around it, and sustainability-focused consumers would have to be willing to pay for it.
SusPig comprises teams from various European countries but also research groups from the US and Australia through a multidisciplinary approach. The teams will evaluate feed efficiency and robustness traits in response to local pig diets and feedstuff co-products. They will also carry out experimental and commercial pig trials.
The teams will perform environmental and social life cycle assessment analysis on the impacts of pig production on lower quality feed, and they will model future sustainable pig production systems.
Margareth Øverland, professor in nutrition at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), and director of a Center for Research-based Innovation (CRI), Foods of Norway, is heading up one of the work packages of the SusPig project.
“Rapeseed meal is a relatively good protein source. You can upgrade the nutritional value by targeted processing. One aspect is to, actually, generate the protein concentrate by using novel technology. We are currently looking into that. The other thing is using novel enzymes to break down the lignocellulose matrix and then you open up and increase the digestibility of the protein. There are many things you can do with existing resources,” she said.
She also sees great potential for the use of lupins in European pig diets.