Danisco Animal Nutrition and Health, now part of IFF, is collaborating with Dutch company, Single Spark, on a digital platform that supports farmers in developing countries to generate quality feed recipes with locally sourced ingredients at the lowest possible price.
And in a separate development, BASF and Evonik have announced that they are entering into an agreement to enable stakeholders produce more sustainable feed and animal protein.
Smart algorithm-based feed mixing
Turning first to the Danisco and Single Spark alliance – the Utrecht based firm’s FeedCalculator will now incorporate Danisco’s Axtra PHY GOLD, making the phytase enzyme more accessible to smallholder farmers and feed mills in Africa.
The FeedCalculator app was developed by a team of Dutch feed scientists, software developers and farmers and it relies on a smart algorithm to enable users to easily create a customized feed mix using local raw materials.
“We are excited to be part of this initiative,” said Segun Oluwole, regional sales manager for Danisco Animal Nutrition and Health. “It enables us to translate our extensive research data into an established, practical and integrated digital feed-mix format, which has measurable cost and animal performance benefits for farmers and feed mills in Africa.”
Peter Meijer, founder of Single Spark, commented: “Our aim has always been to empower farmers in developing countries by giving them easy access to the latest animal feed technology through the FeedCalculator app. We are confident that this collaboration with Danisco will further strengthen its positive impact with producers in the region.”
Danisco maintains that its phytase enzyme can boost the sustainability of animal production because it allows formulation of inorganic phosphate-free high phytate diets. It claims it also offers thermostability, and that it is proven to outperform other commercial phytases under a wide range of pelleting conditions.
"In practical terms, it enables farmers to reduce the use of more expensive, conventional feed ingredients, such as corn, soy and inorganic phosphate. And, at the same, it creates the opportunity to include less expensive, alternative raw materials, such as rice bran, wheat bran, corn bran/germ, wheat middlings, sunflower meal, palm kernel meal, etc. in formulations. In other words, the move gives farmers an effective tool to reduce and manage feed costs more effectively, plus the confidence to know they are delivering all the essential nutrients for flock growth and performance," Oluwole told this publication.
Danisco had been exploring how to use digital platforms to reach smalholder farmers and feed mills in Africa - that research led it to Single Spark.
The organization's goals were very much aligned with those of Danisco, essentially, looking at ways to help farmers produce good quality feed from locally available raw materials at the most efficient cost, said Oluwole.
"The FeedCalculator app also impressed us with its functionality, ease of use and widespread engagement. So, the fact that it didn’t already include feed enzymes became an exciting opportunity for us to collaborate. We worked closely with the team at Single Spark through several knowledge and information sharing sessions to incorporate Axtra PHY GOLD into the app. This is the first step in our partnership. We expect to add more of our feed solutions in the future to help farmers in Africa achieve further feed costs savings, as well as more efficient and sustainable livestock production."
The FeedCalculator app is free of charge and available for download to Android smartphones on Google Play.
Measuring for impact
Next up, the deal between the German chemical giants. That alliance sees Evonik integrating BASF’s digital ready-to-use sustainability platform, Opteinics, into its global feed consultancy services.
The software solution was launched by BASF in 2021 – it is designed to measure, analyze, and minimize the environmental impact of animal protein, with an emphasis on animal feed production.
Currently the software offers modules for pig and poultry production and can be integrated with feed formulation software.
Opteinics for pork has recently been fully verified to conform with the ISO 14040 and 14044 LCA standards as well as with the UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) partnership guidelines. Applications for the dairy value chain and for the optimization of compound feed mixtures are set to follow, reported BASF.
With the use of Opteinics, Evonik said it can better support the livestock industry to make significant progress in fighting climate change, safeguarding ecosystems, and ensuring health and well-being as it works to achieve sustainable food production.
And the partners said they will be targeting further developments in digital sustainability aimed at optimizing feed and animal production.
In 2020, both companies invested in a Chinese technology startup, SmartAHC. The platform was founded in 2014 by graduates of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and looks to improve farm efficiency and animal welfare.
The Shanghai-based firm provides customized digital solutions to increase efficiency throughout the pork value chain. By leveraging its proprietary AIoT platform, it collects data from various farming processes using self-developed sensors. The analytics, driven by AI and computer vision technology, are designed to improve the efficiency of production, quantify the product performance for the raw material supplier and provide a transparent traceability solution for agricultural processes.