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Possibilities and limitations of protein supply in organic poultry and pig production

Sundrum, A.; Schneider, K. and Richter, U. (2005) Possibilities and limitations of protein supply in organic poultry and pig production. Final Project Report EEC 2092/91 (Organic) Revision, no. D 4.1 (Part 1). University of Kassel, Witzenhausen , Department of Animal Nutrition and Animal Health.

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It is one of the general recommendations in animal nutrition that the diet should be formulated according to the specific requirements of animals at the various stages of their development. To which degree the farmer can adapt the nutrient supply to the specific requirements of the animals depends primarily on the production goal and on the availability of nutrient resources. This report gives a general introduction to the present situation for dietary protein supply to poultry and pig production in relation to the principles for organic agriculture and husbandry production. Furthermore it includes partly literature based on research from conventional animal production, as the requirements on the level of the animals are not different in both systems. Moreover, there only few research projects of organic production systems available.
This report is primarily focussing on the question whether a nutrient supply of 100% organic feed can and should be realised. In this context, it is not possible to cover all aspects in detail as the report cannot replace a textbook. The main emphasis is laid on a coherent argumentation based on the leading ideas of organic agriculture. Concerning further relevant aspects it is referred to the report ”Supply and demand for concentrated organic feed in the EU in 2002 and 2003” by Susanne Padel as part of the same EU-project: ‘Research to support the EU-regulation on Organic Agriculture’ (www.organic-revision.org) and to the project “Availability of organically reared livestock” (S. Gomez, JRC, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, this study is expected to be completed in November 2005).
In conventional animal production, a nutrient supply that is closely related to the requirements is an important tool in the performance-oriented production (FLACHOWSKY, 1998). The objective of animal nutrition is to adapt the nutrient supply as accurately as possible to the requirements resulting from maintenance and performance need. Soybean meal, due to the high protein content and high protein quality, has developed into the most important protein source in the nutrition of monogastric animals. Additionally, synthetic amino acids (DL-methionine) and industrial amino acids (produced from microbial fermentation, L-amino acids) are used to balance the supply of essential amino acids.
While the use of soybean meal and synthetic amino acids is normal practice in conventional animal production, the Council-Regulation No. 2092/91, amended by Council Regulation No. 1804/99 on organic livestock production bans the use of chemically extracted soybean meal and synthetic amino acids on organic farms as livestock must be fed primarily on organically produced feedstuffs (Annex 1, paragraph 4.2). By way of a derogation from paragraph 4.2, for a transitional period expiring on 24 August 2005, the use of a limited proportion of non-organic feedstuffs is authorised where farmers can show to the satisfaction of the inspection body that they are unable to obtain feed exclusively from organic production (paragraph 4.8). The derogation, although with a declining percentage of non-organic feedstuffs over the next years, has been prolonged in July 2005.
The preferable use of home-grown feedstuffs and limitations in the choice of boughtin
feedstuffs can be the cause of considerable variation in the composition of the diets, and considerably restrict the possibilities for the adaptation of the feed ration to the specific requirements. Due to the limited availability of essential amino acids in particular, there is concern that nutritional imbalances encountered in practice might lead to deteriorating animal health and welfare. On the other hand, there is also the concern that allowing conventional feedstuffs to be fed in organic livestock production will result in intensification of production. The intensification might cause the same problems in organic production as conventional production already shows (animal health problems, risk of residues and GM contamination etc.). Thus, the use of non-organic feedstuffs may have a damaging effect on consumer confidence in organic products of animal origin.
In the following the nutritional-physiological effects of a variation in protein supply with respect to growth performance and protein accretion in broilers, turkeys, laying hens, and pigs are examined by means of a literature review. Additionally, the potential effects of the protein content in the diet on product quality, animal health and environmental damage are addressed.
It is the aim of the report to provide an overview of the many different aspects of the protein supply in organic poultry and pig production. Many different aspects are taken into account to elaborate possibilities to handle the use of organic and non-organic feedstuffs with respect to the objectives and framework conditions of organic livestock production. However, due to the complex interactions not all aspects can be covered. There is room and need for explanation and for further research.

EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:pig, poultry, production, feed, protein, closed nutritent cycle
Subjects: Values, standards and certification > Regulation
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Pigs
Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Research affiliation: European Union > Organic Revision
UK > Univ. Aberystwyth > Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)
Germany > University of Kassel > Department of Animal Nutrition and Animal Health
Denmark > ICROFS - International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems
Deposited By: Padel, Dr Susanne
ID Code:10983
Deposited On:09 Jul 2007
Last Modified:07 Apr 2011 12:11
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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