Meeting consumer demands through nutrition-based solutions
by Dr Elliot Block, Global Director of R&D and Tech Services, Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production, USA
The continual growth of emerging economies around the globe means exploding demand for high-value protein from meat, eggs, milk and other dairy products. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), by 2030 annual meat production is projected to reach 376 million tonnes globally, up from 218 million tonnes in 1997-1999.
The increasing demand creates new livestock feed market opportunities, but also creates new challenges. Aligning consumer preferences and evolving rules and regulations with the need to provide healthy and safe products will require new solutions for producers and their suppliers throughout the food supply chain.
To address the convergence of consumer demands and safety regulations, researchers are developing new feed additives to help keep livestock and poultry healthy and thriving, either without antibiotics or with limited antibiotic use. Nutrition-based solutions give feed suppliers unique advantages in helping producers be successful in meeting and exceeding consumer demands.
Focusing on the relationship between a healthy gut and the overall resiliency of the animal, research has found the addition of certain dietary ingredients can help maintain natural microbial populations and immune response in the digestive system. With a bolstered immune system, animals respond more favorably to environmental challenges as well as develop more resiliency throughout their productive lives.
For example, multiple research studies demonstrate that feeding the Refined Functional Carbohydrates™ (RFCs™) and yeast culture found in Celmanax™ can help provide a healthy base for animal growth and development, leading to improved animal productivity. Each of the RFCs in Celmanax have biological functions but generally work together to support intestinal immune function and integrity and prevent attachment of pathogens to the intestinal wall. The yeast culture portion of Celmanax supports optimal rumen fermentation and digestion and reduce the effects of toxins, such as mycotoxins, in feed.
Celmanax is a specifically formulated products containing several components derived from yeast. RFCs are the components extracted from yeast cells (S. cerevisiae) using specific enzymes during a proprietary manufacturing process. Each component has a specific mode of action and outcome when fed to animals:
- MOS (Mannan Oligosaccharides) support consistent growth of beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium
- Beta 1,3-1,6 glucans help support the immune system in the intestine and strengthen the intestinal cells to prevent mycotoxin damage and reduce the inflammatory responses associated with losses of production
- D-Mannose binds pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella
Poultry response to RFCs
Research shows feeding RFCs can make poultry more resilient under stressful conditions, leading to better feed efficiency and performance. Both layers and broilers benefit from improved gut health.
In a commercial layer trial6 involving four houses with 60,000 to 90,000 hens per house, feeding RFCs improved egg performance while reducing mortality and Salmonella prevalence. An economic analysis demonstrated that these results had potential to add US $0.60 in revenue per hen housed.
Research shows that supplementing broiler diets with RFCs effectively enhances bird performance, improving weight gain, feed conversion, and uniformity of bird size and weight at slaughter.
A study with 1,600 day-old chicks compared the effect of RFCs on performance of birds raised under standard coccidiosis management programs. Adding RFCs to diets improved performance of birds vaccinated for coccidiosis as well as those fed a coccidiostat.
Supporting immunity through nutrition
In ruminants, creating and maintaining a healthy gut supports their immune function, particularly in stressful times such as housing transitions.
A study on two commercial US farms compared health and performance of milk-fed Holstein calves supplemented with RFCs. Researchers studied overall health, fecal pathogen shedding and average daily gain of 319 three-day-old calves in individual housing for days one through six, and group pens with automatic feeders until day 56.
Calves fed RFCs had lower probability of developing severe diarrhea and had less shedding of Salmonella and rotavirus pathogens. Improved gut health led to improved growth and performance, with calves fed RFCs recording 2.1kg higher body weights at the end of the trial compared with controls without RFC supplementation.
Resiliency in beef cattle
Research studies show that feeding Celmanax helps beef cattle maintain resiliency by managing the natural microbial populations and immune response. RFCs in Celmanax support beneficial bacteria found in cattle's digestive systems while blocking sites for pathogens to attach to the intestinal lining.
Maintaining a healthier gut by feeding RFCs helps maintain nutrient uptake, leading to better feed efficiency and animal performance because animals are able to devote energy to all functions, instead of fighting off infections or struggling to maintain feed intake.
Studies in feedlot cattle showed similar results with numerical improvements in average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion. Additionally, steers fed RFCs reached finishing weight nearly 14 days sooner than control and held a 50.7 lb. numerical advantage at harvest.
Alleviating shipment stress
In a trial performed by Texas Tech University two truckloads of beef heifers were fed either a control diet or one containing RFCs for the first 35 days after arrival at the feed yard. The newly received heifers experienced heat stress conditions in addition to experiencing the stress of shipping. At the end of the feeding period, heifers supplemented with Celmanax had a 12 percent higher average daily gain (ADG) in the first 14 days and eight percent higher ADG over the full 35-day receiving period.
In addition, those fed RFCs experienced 61 percent fewer cases of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) compared with the control group. Reduced treatment costs translated into a $9.90 per head economic advantage for RFCs over the 35-day receiving period.
Alternative to ZnO in swine
Reducing stress at critical times for pigs has an impact on the overall growth and productivity of the animals. With increasing pressure around the world to reduce or eliminate antibiotics and the use of zinc oxide (ZnO) in feeds, new solutions are needed. Research shows that Celmanax with RFCs may provide a viable alternative to maintain piglet health through better gut health.
On a commercial sow farm, RFC supplementation in sow lactation diets resulted in improved piglet weaning weights, compared to control sows without RFCs. Piglets from RFC-fed sows sustained their body weight (BW) advantage through the end of the nursery phase—with weights comparable to nursery pigs fed ZnO.
Creative solutions to evolving challenges
Increasing global demand for high-quality protein sources supplied in a safe and healthy manner requires ongoing research and creative solutions. The research team at Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production, developer of Celmanax, is dedicated to creating new solutions to meet these evolving challenges.