By Matt Holmes, Features editor, Milling & Grain


AFinnish company says resin from pine trees is the key additive for healthy animal feeds. Exhibiting at EuroTier 2018, EijaValkonen, Manager (R&D) at SuomenRehu spoke to Matt Holmes, of Milling & Grain magazine, about the wonder ingredient which has performed successfully in different countries.

The idea of Progres® comes from an old Finnish folk medicine wisdom: if you rub rosin into wounds, they will heal faster. Recently, scientific research has shown that rosin-containing salve, indeed helps to heal even severe chronic sores and infected wounds. Coniferous trees, like spruce and pine, produce resin, in order to protect themselves against bark and wood-boring insects and microbial pathogens. Resin acids are a group of bioactive compounds found in tree resin.

Progres is a novel patented feed innovation – the only resin acid product in the global feed market. It supports the gastrointestinal integrity and function of animals in a scientifically proven way. Progres was developed by SuomenRehu and was internationally launched in 2015. SuomenRehu"s wide, multi-national R&D network was involved in the research efforts that led to this innovation.

The bioactive component of Progres are resin acids. Progres is sustainably produced from a side-stream of the paper industry called crude tall oil. Tall oil contains fatty acids, resin acids, and other hydrocarbon derivatives. The production of Progres, with its specific refining process, does not involve any chemical modification.

In fact, the resin acid cocktail in Progres comes directly from the two most common coniferous trees in Finnish forests: The Scots pine and the Norway spruce. In Progres, resin acids are present in a defined percentage. Resin acids are non-volatile and heat stable, and they can be measured in the product or in samples of compound feed.

It needs just 0.5 – 1.0 kg per tonne of animal feed and the costs of inclusion are competitive in terms of return on investment.

"We are the first company in the world to use resin acid-based product in animal feeds and it really does have an effect," said Eija.

"Our field trials show it can help to sustain animal health and improve their performance."

Due to its unique mode of action, Progres has shown consistently excellent results in different countries and production conditions.

The product demonstrated a statistically significant effect in 70 percent of the trials completed by independent institutes. In trials with an intentional challenge factor, like coccidiosis, the success rate rose to 80 percent. In both institutional and field trials, Progres has consistently improved:

The growth and feed conversion of broilers and turkeys
The final slaughter weight and feed conversion of veal calves
Sow"s and piglets" performance
Finland has plenty of trees to produce Progres. Around 75 percent of the country is covered in forest.
Proges is a very Finnish product – a fact the company is very proud of.

The website says:

"Pure nature, high standards in animal welfare and good performance of animals in production systems are making Finland very interesting place for companies around the world.

"We are very proud to tell our customers about the Finnish philosophy in animal production and we have been taking in small groups of people to Finland to show them the Finnish way of doing things.

"Our collaboration with domestic agricultural companies is very good and we are happy that, together with them, we can take people to see farms to show in practice how it"s done.

"We believe that approaches practiced routinely in Finland, are required and achievable for other countries also.

"Global responsibility in animal protein production forces companies to find new solutions and concepts to meet the challenges of the future, demands from consumers and retailers and to utilize, in optimal ways, the genetic potential of animals."

Progres directly supports intestinal integrity and favourably modifies intestinal microbiota. This results in improved performance and welfare of animals in different production conditions.

Progres was discovered by Juhani Vuorenmaa, who wanted to know if he could use resin in animal feeds as he remembered his grandfather using it to heal infected wounds.

Woodsmen would rub the resin into open wounds and watch it heal the cut. Progres was awarded with the prestigious Prize for Innovations, which is bestowed biennially by the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland.
The Federation said: "Progres, a feed ingredient developed by Forchem and Hankkija from tall oil, may be used to replace antibiotics in feed to improve the sustainability of livestock production and food purity. Progres has already been awarded several patents and it is extensively used to address the global need to replace feed antibiotics in livestock production."

Juhani Vuorenmaa (R&D Director) says, "on a personal level, this was a remarkable acknowledgement of our persistent work for replacing feed antibiotics and for producing more sustainable and safer food."

Proges also won Best Idea for 2017 taking 43 percent of all votes on the Netherlands Association of Veal Farmers" website.

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