The ingredient is Whole Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSF). Black Soldier Flies are native to North America and do not bite or sting. The larvae are high in protein and fat, and grow quickly. Enterra’s Marketing and Operations Manager says BSF are renewable and environmentally-friendly, consuming pre-consumer food waste that would otherwise go to landfill, composting or waste-to-energy operations where the food nutrient value would be lost. Victoria Leung also notes that BSF larvae will consume a wide range of waste food, from fruits, vegetables and stale bread to grains and grocery store waste.
All of the company’s production processes were developed in-house by Enterra’s research and engineering teams over the course of several years. “The adult flies are grown in cages under controlled environmental conditions,” Leung explains. “Once the larvae mature, they are either sent back to the cages to emerge as flies or they are harvested as product.”
When asked about the potential reaction a consumer might have to eating chicken that has been fed dried fly larvae, Leung says that “based on our experience, we are not too concerned…Insects are a natural source of nutrients for chickens, fish and other animals – it’s what they eat in the wild. Free-range chickens, for example, naturally forage for insects.”
The biggest barrier to commercialization of BSF has been clearing regulatory hurdles to achieve approval as a feed ingredient. “However, we are now seeing very good progress on this front, first with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S., and now with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as well,” Leung explains. CFIA approval this summer came after four years of work, during which time the agency reviewed BSF as a ‘Novel Feed Ingredient,’ did a data review and a complete safety assessment (livestock, workers, food and the environment). “CFIA has a very thorough review process that involves assessing the product for safety, microbiology and efficacy for each target animal type, for example salmon, broilers and so on,” says Leung. “We also needed to show the product worked equivalent to or better than feed ingredients currently on the market.”
Enterra is working with the CFIA and FDA to have its BSF approved for use in other animal feeds as well, including poultry layers, other poultry (turkeys, ducks), trout and salmon. Approval is anticipated in mid-2017. The firm is also working to develop new products from dried larvae such as oil and high-protein meal.
Because it’s a natural ingredient, we asked Enterra if inclusion of BSF in chicken feed will help with bird gut health, for example perhaps reducing incidence of coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis. Leung responded by noting that “insects contain chitin as part of their exoskeleton structure. Researchers have proposed that inclusion of chitin or chitosan in poultry diets may improve poultry health; however, more research is needed.”
Dr. Bob Blair, nutritional scientist and Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia (UBC), has studied BSF. “The meal is closest in composition to fish meal and is a valuable feed ingredient,” he says. “It contains 40 to 60 per cent crude protein, depending on the amount of oil extracted during processing.” He has found no issues with blending it into feed, though he notes the high-fat product may have to be stabilized. “I do not have first-hand experience of feeding the meal to poultry since UBC no longer has the requisite facilities, but based on my talks with the company and my understanding of research conducted on similar products elsewhere, I regard it as an excellent poultry feed ingredient. Its main limitation is the cost - can it compete economically with other protein feedstuffs or will its cost limit it to more expensive feeds such as fish feed?” Blair adds that since BSF excrement can be used as fertilizer, the whole BSF production process “is to be welcomed as a sustainable way of producing a valuable feed ingredient from vegetable waste that would otherwise be dumped.”
Enterra is currently selling BSF to both Canadian and U.S. customers in the poultry and pet food industries. Scratch and Peck Feeds in Bellingham, Washington began purchasing BSF in April 2015, shortly after it became available on the U.S. market. “We wanted it to package as a poultry treat as an alternative to meal worms which are predominantly grown in China,” explains owner Diana Ambauen-Meade. “One of our company’s values is to source our ingredients as locally/regionally as possible so we don’t buy anything offshore. And we value that they feed the larvae pre-consumer food waste that would normally end up in a landfill as it is a very effective way to close the food waste loop.” She says she fully intends to integrate BSF into her feeds as an alternative protein source to the fishmeal currently used.
When asked about the potential to have widespread inclusion of BSF in U.S. and Canadian poultry feeds, in terms of the environment impact that would have on diverting landfill waste and in the avoidance of other feed ingredients which have greater impact, Leung has a positive outlook. “There is a big potential for our insect ingredients to become a standard inclusion in livestock diets,” she says. “Our company plans to expand far beyond our Langley facility – anywhere there is an abundance of food waste, it is possible to build a commercial insect-rearing facility to upcycle the waste nutrients into sustainable feed ingredients.”
Ontario-based AbCelex Technologies has developing a line of non-antibiotic, non-hormonal products that eliminate or significantly reduce pathogens in the chicken gut such as Campylobacter and Salmonella. “Since these innovative products are based on natural antibodies, there is no risk to human health and no possibility of antibiotic resistance,” says President and CEO Saeid Babaei. “The products will be delivered as a feed additive. Chickens simply ingest the antibody and it selectively neutralizes the bacteria. Our results in live chicks show 95 per cent inhibition of the Campylobacter pathogen, far higher than any other pre-harvest method used in industry and what expected by regulators.”
AbCelex is now moving forward with young adult field studies to be followed by large broiler trials to support regulatory submissions, with a goal of market launch in late 2018 or early 2019. “Being the first product of its kind, we will work with various regulatory agencies in getting our products approved,” Babaei notes. “Our commercialization strategy is to directly market to large poultry producers/processors as well as co-marketing opportunities with larger animal health companies…We have already partnered with one of Ireland’s largest poultry producer/processor, Carton Group, which may be involved with commercial farm studies and product registration in Europe.”
The very small antibodies (also called single-domain antibodies or nanobodies) employed by AbCelex occur naturally only in the blood of cameloids (camels, llamas and alpacas) and sharks. “The discovery of this novel class of antibodies stems from the early 1990s,” Babaei explains, “when Belgium scientists were studying the blood of cameloids and they noticed that the immune systems of these species produced a unique type of antibody around a tenth of the size of usual antibodies — small enough that they were orally bioavailable, whereas conventional antibody drugs must be injected to enter the bloodstream.” The nanobodies’ small size and flexibility for molecular engineering also allows for cost-effective mass production.
In the past several years, AbCelex has increased the resistance of its lead products to the acidic conditions of the animal digestive tract, and also significantly improved their resistance to heat (required in poultry feed preparation). In the past year, they have also produced their lead antibodies in various micro-organism systems, such as yeast. In July 2016, AbCelex received an investment of $3.4 million through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s ‘AgriInnovation Program’ to support further product development. Babaei says this will be conducted in collaboration with Canadian and international academic institutions, companies and contract research groups.
“The risk of feed grain quality issues that can affect livestock performance is quite high this year,” says Rob Patterson, Technical Director for Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. (CBS Inc.) “That’s no surprise with the type of growing season it has been across the Prairies. In many areas it has been very wet with high disease pressure and high risk of mycotoxins, mold and other issues. We are now seeing the risk confirmed in reports from across the region, based on analysis of early harvest grain samples.
“It’s a year when livestock operations and feed mills will want to be even more diligent than normal in taking the right steps to safeguard the quality of feed and the performance of livestock consuming the feed.”
A good starting point is to send in feed grain samples for analysis, says Patterson. “This can identify the presence and level of mycotoxins and other contaminants. Once you know what you’re dealing with you can take the steps needed avoid any issues.”
The convenience, sophistication and accuracy of fast test capability has improved dramatically in recent years, says Mark Peters, Director of Sales and Marketing for CBS Inc. “We have seen a lot more interest in the testing. Industry has become more knowledgeable and cautious about the risk out there and how it can impact production. The testing is a good insurance policy and it’s good for peace of mind. Especially in a year like this one.”
CBS Inc. is an example of industry taking on greater capacity in grain analysis to help serve customers. The company offers a tool called MycoCheck that has been developed in part based on studies in partnership with Canadian universities.
“The customer sends us a sample, we run the analysis and get back quickly with the information to support a sound management decision,” says Peters. “The technology has come a long way. We see increasingly more livestock operations and feed mills taking advantage.”
More information on grain sample analysis options, potential quality issues and options for safeguarding feed and livestock is available by contacting CBS Inc. directly. CBS Inc. offers additional FeedCheck analysis tools. The company also conducts an annual Wheat Survey in cooperation with industry and the University of Manitoba.
More information on CBS Inc. and its comprehensive line of feed technology is available at www.canadianbio.com
August 4, 2016 - Dr. John David Summers, Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph, passed away August 2, 2016.
He completed both his BSc. and MSc. from the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and completed his PhD. at Rutgers. Most of his academic career was spent at the University of Guelph, initially in the Department of Poultry Science and later in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science. His ongoing contacts with industry ensured direct application of his research into various aspects of poultry nutrition that was always timely and insightful. For example, his pioneering work of nutrition and fat deposition in broilers, which is still important today, was started in 1974. His research spanned all the major poultry species, and John could always be counted on to ask penetrating questions at poultry and nutrition meetings around the globe. John was truly one of the pioneers of the golden age of poultry nutrition.
Together with his esteemed colleagues, he helped to develop what has become the foundation of our modern strategies of poultry nutrition. John had a close working relationship with Shaver Poultry in Cambridge, Ontario, and in this capacity visited over 50 different countries. John gave numerous invited lectures around the world where his insightful knowledge was always greeted with great enthusiasm, from both students and other professionals in the poultry industry. John authored over 400 research papers and co-authored 5 books on various aspects of poultry production. John became Professor Emeritus in 1990 and received the Order of OAC in 2013.
A celebration of life for Dr. Summers is taking place Monday August 15 at the Village Centre at the Village by the Aboretum in Guelph, Ont. from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
August 2, 2016- Canadian biotechnology company AbCelex has received an investment of $3.4 million from the federal government to develop a new line of anti-microbial feed additives to help control disease outbreaks in poultry flocks.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC), Lawrence MacAulay, made the announcement July 29.
The company is developing a line of innovative non-antibiotic, non-hormonal additives that are specifically targeted at Campylobacter and Salmonella, two of the most common food-borne bacteria that infect poultry. The new anti-microbials – called “nanobodies” – will result in healthier poultry and improve food safety.
AbCelex is a Canadian biotechnology company focused on developing livestock food additives that help improve animal health and food safety.
AAFC supports the development and adoption of industry-led initiatives regarding biosecurity and animal care to support the prudent use of antimicrobials.
This project will be conducted in collaboration with the International Vaccine Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Toronto and the Colorado Quality Research Inc. Funding for this project comes from the AgriInnovation Program (Research and Development Stream) as part of the Growing Forward 2 agricultural policy framework.
July 20, 2016 - Enterra Feed Corporation has received regulatory approval for use of its Whole Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae as a feed ingredient for poultry broilers, the company announced today.
"This is a significant step forward," says Victoria Leung, marketing and operations manager for Enterra. "We can now offer a renewable protein alternative to those companies manufacturing and retailing chicken feed."
Enterra's manufacturing process at its facility in Langley, B.C involves breeding and raising black soldier fly (BSF) larvae, and feeding them pre-consumer food waste that would otherwise go to landfill, composting or waste-to-energy operations where the food nutrient value would be lost. BSF larvae are an ideal candidate for rearing as a feed ingredient as they consume a wide range of pre-consumer waste food (e.g. waste fruits, vegetables, stale bread, grains, grocery store waste), are native to North America, do not bite or sting, are high in protein and fat, and grow rapidly under controlled conditions.
There are several benefits to insect protein, and Enterra expects feed manufacturers to be eager to consider this ecological protein alternative, according to Andrew Vickerson, Chief Technology Officer with Enterra. "Insects are a natural food source for poultry," he says. "Other sources of protein used in animal feed include fish meal, which causes depleted fish stocks, or soybean meal, which requires many inputs and acres of land, which could be used for human food production."
The approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) comes after four years of work, during which time the CFIA reviewed Enterra's product as a Novel Feed Ingredient, including a complete assessment of product safety (to livestock, workers, food and the environment), and a data review.
In the US, the Ingredients Definition Committee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) accepted Enterra's application to use Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae in salmonid feed earlier this year. The definition was reviewed and agreed to by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This was the first time a federal regulatory body in North America accepted the use of an insect based ingredient as a source of energy and protein for use in animal
Although insects make up an important part of the diet of fish and poultry in the wild, they had not been approved as a feed ingredient in animal production in North America until this year. These approvals come at an important time as the demand for sustainable feed ingredients is growing. By 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that the demand for food is going to increase by 70 per cent and the demand for meat product is going to double.
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016
July 14, 2016 - The global poultry industry is increasingly utilizing dietary β-mannanase enzyme supplementation for poultry diets as a valuable option to enhance production. But are the purported benefits supported by the latest science?
New research results, unveiled at the 2016 Poultry Science Association (PSA) annual meeting, July 11-13 in New Orleans, call into question the value of single activity β-mannanase source formulations, particularly when used with soybean meal based diets representing the vast majority of global production.
The fresh knowledge presented at PSA centres around a newly completed study led by Dr. Anna Rogiewicz of the University of Manitoba – an institution recognized among the global leaders in novel feed ingredient and feed enzyme research. Program collaborators include the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland, and Canadian Bio-Systems Inc.
“We’re learning that the story around mannans and mannanase is more complex,” says Rogiewicz. “There are questions that need more validation in the context of a soybean meal based diet, including the theory that β-mannans in the feed trigger an energy-draining feed induced immune response that would be minimized by β-mannanase supplementation.”
The multi-component study included analysis of β-mannan content in soybean meal based diets, along with in vitro experiments to evaluate the affinity of several leading β-mannanase source formulations, specifically with soybean meal based β-mannans.
The study also involved an in vivo broiler chicken trial to further evaluate impacts with the β-mannanase source formulations added to soybean meal based diets. This component was designed to evaluate the immune trigger theory.
The results confirmed that the β-mannan content within soybean meal based diets is very low and that – as opposed to the high amounts of β-mannans present in guar, copra or palm kernel meals – this small amount in soybean meal is not likely to contribute to any increased intestinal viscosity in poultry fed corn/soybean meal based diets.
The in vitro experiments showed substantial breakdown of β-mannans due to β-mannanase activity. However, results with the in vivo study showed “no effect” in terms of growth performance. There was also no evidence shown to indicate that the level of soybean meal based β-mannans triggered a feed induced immune response. This was evaluated by analysis of the weight of immune organs and the level of immunoglobulins in serum and the intestine.
“The theory has been that because β-mannans have a molecular pattern similar to some pathogens, this triggers a feed induced immunity response, thereby consuming energy that would be preferably directed to growth and performance,” says Rogiewicz. “However, the results of this study would indicate no feed induced immunity response triggered by β-mannans in soybean meal based diets. This may be due to the very low level of β-mannans in soybean meal based diets, as opposed to the much higher levels in, for example, copra or palm kernel meal based diets.”
Broader research and analysis by the University of Manitoba program suggests the best pathway to address β-mannans, along with a full range of target substrates in poultry feed, is through a multi-carbohydrase enzyme approach that utilizes synergies between enzyme sources and activities to maximize feed nutrition capture. More information is available at www.canadianbio.com.
The hardy properties of Camelina sativa give it lots of potential for growing in Canada. It’s tolerant to frost and drought, doesn’t mind cool germination temperatures, thrives in marginal soils, and matures in a short 85 to 100 days, ideal even for northern Saskatchewan or Alberta.
Also known as “false flax” or “wild flax,” camelina is most wanted for its oil but now, 100 years after being introduced to North America, the mustard plant is being re-discovered and re-evaluated as livestock feed, fuelled by close to $3.7 million in funding initiatives to develop market ready varieties.
Rob Patterson is the technical director for Canadian Bio-Systems Inc., a company that researches, develops and manufactures a wide range of products used in food, feed, industrial and environmental applications. Speaking to the Poultry Industry Council (PIC) Innovations Symposium, Patterson explained how camelina had historically been replaced in modern poultry diets by rapeseed and canola but is now experiencing a resurgence due to its multiple uses as a source of omega-3 oil as well as its potential in biofuels, high-end bio-lubricants and plastics and even jet fuel.
Several recent studies have been conducted to re-establish baseline feeding levels and nutritional recommendations for camelina meal in poultry diets. Cold pressed, non-solvent extracted oil cake was approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in 2015 for use in feed up to 12 per cent for broilers only; camelina is not yet approved for use in layers or pigs.
How does camelina meal compare to canola meal? Using numbers from the canola feeding guide, Patterson pointed to camelina having a higher Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF) and Acid Detergent Fibre (ADF) value than canola, but a comparable amino acid spectrum. At 12 per cent fat, camelina meal was a good energy source, compared to canola meal at 3 per cent fat due to oil extraction. The percentage of favorable linoleic and linolenic acid (omega-3) is quite high (39 per cent), but there are also some glucosinolate compounds present, similar to those in rapeseed, that are common to the brassica family and may cause feed refusals. Patterson suggested that more research and breeding work is needed to ensure this issue doesn’t put constraints on the diet.
One study at the Atlantic Poultry Research Centre in Truro, N.S., found that gain in broilers dropped off as camelina inclusion reached 15 per cent of the diet, suggesting the defining line was somewhere between 10 and 15 per cent. Feed refusal resulted in less feed being consumed and therefore less growth, but feed conversion rates stayed the same. Patterson suggests that the 12 per cent cap on camelina inclusion may be unrealistic, recommending somewhere between five and 10 per cent.
As an omega-3 enrichment factor, camelina meal has potential but it’s not there yet, especially with the 12 per cent inclusion rate cap. To label a product as omega-3 enriched requires a level of 300 milligrams per 100 grams of meat. Even with enzyme supplementation, one study in 2015 by Nairn et al. at the University of Alberta could not reach that level with 12 per cent inclusion of camelina, although they did reach the enrichment level in thigh meat by day 42 with 16 per cent inclusion. In the U.S., camelina can be included up to 10 per cent on broiler and layer diets in omega-3 enriched programs but the U.S. omega-3 level of claim is lower.
Camelina oil has higher vitamin E levels than flax oil, meaning a longer shelf life, and it could be more effective than flax for meat enhancement, but Patterson doesn’t see camelina as a viable alternative to flax at this time. The caps to the usage of camelina in poultry diets as he sees them are with the limit to the level of inclusion and regulatory constraints at this time.
While he hopes to explore new opportunities with layers within the next year, indicating there is potential there, he regards it as a niche with limited opportunity that is not set to grow much unless producers are spurred by market demand to use camelina as a replacement for flax or genetically modified canola.
June 24, 2016 - Millennials are driving the greatest change the food industry has seen in 70 years, demanding fresher ingredients, greater sustainability, farm-to-market accountability and more. Chief among the demands is for vegetarian-fed meats, chicken in particular. With poultry producers left to find solutions immediately, the introduction of the world's first pure vegan protein supplement for poultry, Vegain, looks to change the way both broilers and layers are fed.
Dr. Clark Springfield, General Manager, H.J. Baker Animal Health & Nutrition, said in a release “the moment we realized the need for a vegetarian-fed chicken was becoming mainstream rather than a niche market, we knew the poultry industry would need to respond. We developed Vegain and got it into testing quickly. The results exceeded even our expectations. Now producers can have a pure vegetable protein that out-produced traditional animal protein in head-to-head university trials."
To learn more about Vegain, visit hjbaker.com
May 12, 2016 - New data from a survey of wheat samples from across Canada is helping to drive optimized feeding strategies for pigs and poultry.
The survey was led by Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. (CBS Inc.) and the University of Manitoba in cooperation with farming operations and feed mills across four provinces.
"Feeding strategies are becoming more sophisticated and represent one of the greatest opportunities for livestock operations to improve efficiency and profitability," says Rob Patterson, Technical Director of CBS Inc. "The key to maximizing value from feed is to first understand the nutritional profile of the ingredients at the deepest level possible, then apply this knowledge to strategies designed to get the most bang per bite. The wheat survey is a new effort to help provide this knowledge for feed wheat."
For the 2015-2016 wheat survey, wheat samples were collected from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario from August to October 2015. Location, variety, date of collection and other pertinent information was recorded at the time of collection. All samples were analyzed over the following months at the University of Manitoba’s Department of Animal Science, producing a wealth of data on a variety of parameters including crude protein, starch, non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) – both water soluble and water insoluble – and neutral-detergent fibre, as well as total phytate and non-phytate phosphorus.
"The picture presented by the analysis gives us a fresh look, at an in-depth level, at the nutritional value available in the feed wheat, as well as the potential to unlock more of the feed value – for example, through the use of feed additives that help break down the hard-to-digest components," says Patterson. "The new data collected from this survey will be made available to industry, to help in the formulation of precision diets, particularly for swine and poultry."
The results show some regional variation, he says. They also confirm characteristics that can be addressed through feeding strategies. "Overall we see a high-quality feed ingredient," says Patterson. "We also get a clearer picture of how to get the most value and best performance using this feed source. For example, the survey results help us pin down the levels of water soluble and water insoluble NSP present in the wheat. Water soluble NSP are significant because they can slow feed passage. Water insoluble NSP are significant because they are hard-to-digest and thereby lock away nutrients. With knowledge from the survey, we see ways to optimize the performance of the animals. We also see ways to improve the overall nutritional value obtained from the wheat, by five percent or more."
The 2015-2016 wheat survey follows up on an initial survey conducted in 2014. Plans are to continue this approach for multiple years, in order to build an increasingly valuable resource of information, says Patterson. "As we strive to get more customized and precise in feeding approaches, feed wheat is near the top of our list of priorities in Canada.
For pigs and poultry, year-to-year, wheat is the most common feed ingredient in Western Canada and it is also important in Eastern Canada. Building this knowledge base is a great opportunity to help Canada reach a new, higher level of livestock production success." More information on the 2015-2016 wheat survey, including a map and key charts, is available on request by contacting CBS Inc.
Recently, there has been a significant increase in calls for the reduction or exclusion of in-feed antibiotics in North American poultry production. Notable restaurant chains and retailers, including McDonald’s and Costco, have publicly announced their intentions to eliminate the use of “medically important” antibiotics in their supply chains, prompting further announcements by major U.S. integrators, including Tyson, Pilgrim’s and Foster Farms to eliminate use of these antibiotics in their production systems in the coming years.
To be clear, while removing medically important disease prevention antibiotics such as bacitracin and virginiamycin, many of these companies are promoting the continued use of in-feed coccidiostats, parasiticides that control the intestinal parasites of Eimeria species.
The reason for these announcements, as noted in earlier articles in Canadian Poultry Magazine (October and December 2015 issues), is to address concerns over the development and transmission of antibiotic resistance to pathogenic bacteria in humans; so-called “superbugs”. While some continue to debate the contribution of animal agriculture’s use of antibiotics to the development of resistant bacteria in humans, as an industry, we have a responsibility to mitigate this risk where possible. This will support maintaining the effectiveness of the limited toolbox of antibiotics for treating human, as well as food production animal infections.
In order to maintain current levels of performance and health in our flocks we must find alternative feed additives or production strategies to replace these valuable tools. This story is not new. In fact, a ban on antibiotic growth-promotants (AGPs) was initiated in the EU in 2006. What is new is a rapidly growing North American demand for effective additives to replace antibiotics.
One of the concerns in antibiotic-free programs is the increased risk of necrotic enteritis (NE). Key antibiotics have claims for control of Clostridium perfringens (Cp), the causative agent in NE. New additives or feeding programs should offer some protection against Cp to help prevent NE outbreaks.
Feed companies are bombarded with products positioned as alternatives to traditional medicated feed programs, with numerous modes of action (how they work). A dominant category of these additives are essential oil or plant-derived extracts, registered largely as flavours, with anecdotal reports of improved growth in chickens. Essential oils are also widely considered antibacterial and have been shown to directly inhibit growth of Cp in the lab. Other technologies include yeast byproducts, prebiotics, probiotics, short and medium chain fatty acids, various acidifiers and antioxidants, most of which are single bioactive products. The reality is there is no single additive that is as effective as a drug, nor as inexpensive – no “silver bullet”. Despite the plethora of antibiotic-alternative feed additives that are promoted, little, if any, data are available to support the performance of these products under production conditions similar to a medicated feed program.
Nutreco Canada (Shur-Gain and Landmark Feeds) believes that a combination product, which improves the immune system and integrity of the digestive tract while inhibiting pathogen growth and colonization in the digestive system, will provide the strongest protection. No single bioactive compound can address all of these modes of action.
This formed the basis of a succession of studies over many years in screening various individual bioactive compounds and commercial products both in the lab, and under disease challenge conditions at our research facilities in Canada to identify products that would best meet the combined mode of action approach at a reasonable cost. We also used the experiences of our European Nutreco colleagues subsequent to the antibiotic ban in Europe, to develop alternative feeding programs to test.
The culmination of this effort was a three-site multi-location controlled study (a total of 180 experimental pens) comparing the performance of five dietary feeding programs, all with the same coccidiostat program:
- Negative control (no antibiotic);
- Positive control (includes 55 ppm bacitracin methylene disalicylate, or BMD);
- Alternative program 1 (combination of products with ingredients that have indirect pathogen inhibition and improvements to intestinal integrity/health/microflora);
- Alternative program 2, which later became the Nobelo program (combination of products with ingredients that have indirect pathogen inhibition and improvements to intestinal integrity, health and microflora and immune systems competency); and
- Alternative program 3 (combination of products to support digestive and immune systems competency).
Under non-challenge research conditions we saw no differences in mortality, but we did see, as expected, a significant improvement in overall feed conversion when feeding BMD (two points lower). We also noted that Alternative programs 1 and 2 (Nobelo) had similar improvement in FCR as the medicated treatment (Fig. 1), while alternative program 3 had little benefit.
Overall average mortality was lower when using BMD (as expected), but we were excited to see that both alternative programs 1 and 2 also had significantly lower mortality compared to the non-medicated control (Fig. 2).
Pen-based studies alone are not sufficient to help producers make informed choices as to whether products will work under commercial conditions. Our next step was to validate the performance of the alternative program 2 (branded as Nobelo and selected over alternative program 1 due to its lower cost) under field conditions. We repeated the field validation in two separate regions using different in-feed antibiotics with 38 commercial flocks in Quebec (19 flocks randomly assigned to antibiotic and 19 to Nobelo) and 20 commercial flocks in Ontario (10 flocks randomly assigned to antibiotic and 10 to Nobelo) in the fall of 2011. Under real-life commercial production conditions we saw no significant differences in average market weights, feed conversion or mortality in either region (Fig. 3), nor did we see any differences in production costs for antibiotic versus Nobelo.
Shur-Gain and Landmark feeds introduced the Nobelo feeding program in 2014, resulting in a 33 per cent reduction in our in-feed antibiotic use in broilers, with no difference in production performance when compared to flocks placed before or after Nobelo (Fig. 4a and Fig. 4b.).
What does all of this mean? It shows that producing poultry without feeding the birds medically important antibiotics is possible in a safe and economically sustainable way while maintaining performance. Perhaps most importantly, using this Nobelo strategy will help safeguard the use of our limited supply of antibiotics for when they are truly needed for disease treatment.
January 19, 2016 - Feed innovations are set to tackle the sustainability file in 2016, as a changed regulatory landscape and broad swath of fresh advancements take hold for pigs, poultry and ruminants. The innovations cover efficiency, profitability, environmental footprint, animal health and welfare, and more.
The wave of modernization is propelled by new science, says Rob Patterson, Technical Director for Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. (CBS Inc.), which researches, develops and manufactures a range of new bio-based livestock feed supplements. Another driving force is shifting demand toward alternative supplements, as industry adapts to new rules for more limited and judicious use of traditional options such as antimicrobials.
“The story of feed innovation for animal agriculture is entering a distinct new chapter in 2016,” says Patterson. “Regulations have tightened dramatically and there is more scrutiny and expectations of on-farm practices across the board. But at the same time, there is strong reason for optimism. We are seeing the latest advancements take a major step forward, in line with today’s sustainability demands, to bring more options for feedmills, producers, nutritionists and others in industry, to get more efficiency and value from production systems.”
One of the most promising areas of advancement for the new year is "multi-carbohydrase" feed enzyme technology, says Dr. Bogdan Slominski, a leading feed technology researcher at the University of Manitoba and a pioneer in developing enzyme technology for animal agriculture. CBS Inc. has a long-standing partnership with Slominski’s program.
“Multi-carbohydrase is the forefront of enzyme technology today, leveraging our best knowledge from 30 years of research and development,” says Slominski. “The latest multi-carbohydrase formulations can now consistently produce substantial improvements in weight gain and feed efficiency. There’s a strong production benefit and also a strong environmental benefit.”
The multi-carbohydrase approach involves combining multiple unique enzyme strains that between them express multiple unique activities and therefore can breakdown a much larger portion of otherwise indigestible feed components. “It’s a game changer,” says Slominski. “This innovation, in my opinion, has the greatest potential among the feed supplement innovations we see today, to greatly improve the economics and sustainability of livestock production.”
Nucleotides are another standout example taking a leap forward for 2016. Though relatively new to the livestock feeding sector, nucleotides are widely recognized for their importance in human infant nutrition. “Now a growing body of research shows nucleotide formulations designed for livestock feed can deliver strong feed efficiency, growth promotion and health benefits, particularly for young animals,” says Patterson.
With the threat of mycotoxins rising in the industry consciousness, advancements that help safeguard feed quality and protect animal performance have also risen to the forefront. “We see growing demand for new options that offer an insurance policy and bring peace of mind,” says Patterson.
Also grabbing more of the spotlight in 2016 are specially designed yeast-based supplements that defend against stress loss and support animal welfare, offering unique value during critical times such as weaning or transport.
“These are just a few leading examples among many,” says Patterson. “It’s an exciting time of new options and choice in the feed business.”
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) play a fundamental role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in humans. Health authorities advise people to consume Ώω-3-PUFAs, particularly the long chain (LC) ω-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Consumers’ preference favours whole foods to supplements, and chickens are ideal for efficient transfer of Ώω-3-PUFA from feed to product. Fish oil and marine algae oil are currently used to facilitate enrichment of eggs with LC Ώω-3 PUFA. However, these products are in high demand by various industries, leaving identification of alternate sources of LC Ώω-3 PUFA necessary to ensure sustainability of poultry product enrichment. A new approach to increase the LC Ώω-3-PUFA in poultry is to use a modified form of flaxseed plant, altered to express a high proportion of steriodonic acid (SDA). Table eggs can incorporate a higher proportion of LC ω-3-PUFA than muscles, and as laying hens are capable of depositing LC ω-3-PUFA into a saleable product with less product stability challenges, they were an excellent starting point for this research.
Dr. Doug Korver and his research team from the University of Alberta examined the potential of using SDA-enhanced flaxseed to substantially increase LC Ώω-3 fatty acids in table eggs. This approach examines the effectiveness of bypassing bioconversion of LNA by utilizing SDA-enhanced flaxseed. The goal of the project was to develop an effective SDA-enhanced flaxseed enrichment program and ensure that interactions with other dietary lipids did not interfere with SDA flax as an enrichment source.
Two main experiments were performed to examine the potential of including SDA-enhanced flaxseed oil in laying hens diets.
The first experiment compared the addition of SDA-enhanced flaxseed oil with conventional flaxseed oil in the diet. Additionally, it investigated the potential metabolic competition among fatty acid sources (including fish oil), and thus potential limitations of the enrichment process. Feed consumption, body weights, egg weights and egg traits were measured, and egg yolks were collected at regular intervals during the course of the 35 day experiment. On termination of the experiment, liver samples were collected to perform fatty acid analysis and ovary weight and follicle size were used to determine the reproductive status of the hens.
The second experiment tested the impact of feed form on the enrichment process of the LC Ώω-3 PUFAs in table eggs. This experiment compared ground SDA-enhanced flaxseed with extruded SDA-enhanced flaxseed along with addition of enzymes to increase digestibility. Egg weights were measured daily. Feed consumption and body weights were measured and egg yolks were collected at regular intervals during the course of the 35-day experiment. Eggs collected on day 34 were used to determine lipid stability and hence, an indicator of product quality and shelf life.
In experiment one, supplementation of experimental diets had no effect on feed intake, body weight, egg production and egg trait parameters. Egg yolks from hens fed a SDA-enhanced flaxseed diet showed a 1.5-fold increase in LC Ώω-3 PUFA compared with hens fed a conventional flaxseed diet (152 mg/egg vs. 110 mg/egg). Additionally, changing the ratio of fatty acid sources (corn, canola, fish oil, flaxseed, SDA-flaxseed) did not result in lipid competition for bioconversion enzymes. Therefore, SDA flax can be used to enrich table eggs with LC Ώω-3 fatty acid regardless of other dietary oil sources.
In experiment two, extrusion and enzyme addition had no effect on feed intake, body weight, egg production or egg trait parameters. Similarly, feed processing (including enzymes) did not significantly impact egg yolk fatty acid profiles, however, egg yolk levels of Ώω-3-PUFA were consistently higher in eggs from hens fed SDA-enhanced flaxseed compared to conventional flaxseed. In comparison to other eggs stored for 30 days at 4°C, SDA-enhanced flaxseed enriched eggs had a higher index of oxidation, suggesting additional antioxidant protection may be required in the diets of hens fed SDA-enhanced flaxseed to extend storage life of Ώω-3 fatty acid enriched eggs.
The results of this study show that inclusion of SDA-enhanced flaxseed oil in the diets of laying hens can increase the levels of LC Ώω-3 PUFA in eggs, providing an alternative to inclusion of fish oil.
The Next Steps
SDA-enriched flaxseed could be adopted by producers as an alternative to other sources of Ώω-3 PUFAs. Future studies will be done to determine the potential economic impact of the results obtained through cost benefit analysis and to improve the efficiency of Ώω-3 PUFA enrichment.
This research was funded by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, the University of Alberta and Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC).
December 18, 2015 - Cranberry extracts, derived from the pulp of pressed berries, may be a promising, natural treatment to increase the life expectancy of young broiler chickens.
Healthier birds, with enhanced immunity from a natural source, could reduce production costs for farmers while meeting consumer demand for high-quality, antibiotic-free poultry products.
Dr. Moussa S. Diarra, a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Guelph Research and Development Centre, is currently conducting trials to examine the effects of cranberry fruit extracts on the immunity of broiler birds during their first 14 days of life, a critical period when “they need something to build up their immunity” against infectious disease. “Young birds are fragile and can be hit by several types of infections” if preventive measures aren’t administered, he notes.
Cranberries have long been used in human nutrition and are reported to have various human health benefits because of their high antioxidant compounds and immune-boosting properties. “If they are good for humans, why aren’t they for other animals?” speculated Dr. Diarra.
“Results have shown that cranberry extracts could decrease mortality by 50% in the early life of broiler birds, when treated with 40 mg of cranberry extracts per 1 kg of feed.” - Dr. Moussa Diarra, Research Scientist, Guelph Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Dr. Diarra is the first research scientist in Canada to study the benefits of cranberries on the immune systems of broiler chicks. Since cranberries “are already accepted in human consumption,” it may be possible to satisfy producers’ needs for cost-effective, benign methods to increase animal health by using a food by-product, he notes.
Dr. Diarra and his team conducted a research study of broiler growth performance that was jointly funded by AAFC and the Canadian Cranberry Growers Coalition. The team fed commercial cranberry fruit extracts, derived from cranberry juice, to 1,200 one-day-old male broiler chicks. The chicks were studied in a sanitary facility, where mortalities were examined in comparison with non-treated chicks for up to 35 days. The results have shown that “cranberry decreased mortality by half” in one-to-10-day-old birds, when treated with 40 mg of cranberry extracts per 1 kg of feed.
Dr. Diarra explains that increasing birds’ resistance to the colonization of pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella, while boosting overall birds’ immunity, can increase the sustainability of chicken production.
Currently, Dr. Diarra is leading a multidisciplinary team of scientists and farmers in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island to examine whether extracts, derived from the cranberry fruit waste (pomace), can replace the use of antibiotics in the young broilers. Pomace is otherwise discarded after the berries are pressed, but, “we can use this by-product,” to develop extracts instead, he notes.
Additionally, the trials will look at meat quality, because the antioxidants in cranberries could help increase storage time. This is because antioxidants prevent the oxidation of molecules in the meat, maintaining freshness, Dr. Diarra explains.
The study speaks to greater issues in animal production, including the increasing need for viable alternatives to using antibiotics as growth promoters and increasing antibiotic resistance. The anticipated results could be advantageous for both producers and consumers.
The Guelph Research and Development Centre is part of AAFC’s network of 20 research centres across the country. Located in Guelph, Ontario, the Centre is committed to specialized research in the areas of food safety, quality and nutrition to ensure Canadian-produced food is the safest and highest quality in the world.
Key discoveries (benefits):
Cranberry extract helps prevent early mortality in 1-to-10-day-old broiler chicks.
Current studies suggest it is a viable immune-boosting agent that could reduce antibiotic usage.
The antioxidant properties of cranberries may help enhance chicken meat quality.
December 1, 2015 - Research underway at Ottawa’s Carleton University may make it easier and cheaper to detect toxins created by mold. Called mycotoxins, they’re found in everything from grains to fruit and can cause illness and even death in both humans and animals.
A mold called fusarium that can occur in wheat and corn is a particular problem for farmers as it impacts the quality of their crop and the price they can receive for that crop - contaminated grain or corn isn’t suitable for animal feed or human consumption, so it is rejected by buyers.
“Mycotoxins are produced by fungi found in crops and food. They’re very robust and can survive processing, so we need a cheap and reliable test to detect them,” explains Dr. Maria DeRosa, a professor of chemistry at Carleton who is leading the research.
She has been working with Dr. Art Schaafsma of the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus and Dr. David Miller at Carleton to develop a small test strip that will glow in the presence of mycotoxins when illuminated with a handheld UV light.
The device uses aptamers that DeRosa and her team have identified, which are small, single-stranded nucleic acids that can bind to large or small target molecules – in this case, mycotoxins.
“It’s a simple spot of nanoparticles on paper, a test that can be done on the spot at the grain elevator,” says DeRosa, adding the device can currently detect quantities as minute as 40 parts per billion.
Farmers are doing their part to prevent fusarium, such as monitoring temperature and moisture levels in their fields to predict when their crops might be at risk for developing the mold and deciding when to apply fungicides, but the mold continues to pose a challenge.
Current mycotoxin testing methods at Canada’s network of grain elevators – where farmers take their crops to market – involve both a visual inspection and taking and analysing a random sample from a load of grain or corn.
Not only is this time consuming and expensive (each test can cost between $50-80), but it is also far from accurate: taking samples from different parts of a single load of grain can yield very different results.
Aptamers can be made in a lab very uniformly and at a low cost compared to the mouse antibodies used in current available tests, which means they’ll provide accurate and consistent test results without great expense.
“The needle-in-the-haystack nature of the current sampling process is the problem that we’re trying to address,” says DeRosa, adding that the sheer volume of grain and corn produced in Canada means a testing method also has to be quick and cheap.
After early successes in the lab, her team’s next step is to now move testing of the new technology to a larger scale beyond the lab and into a commercial setting.
November 10, 2015 - Alltech and Masterfeeds announced that they have entered into a share purchase, under which Alltech will acquire 100 per cent of the outstanding shares of Masterfeeds, Inc., from Ag Processing Inc (AGP). This will provide Alltech complete ownership of Masterfeeds LP, a leading commercial animal nutrition company in Canada.
“This is a crucial time in agriculture, and Canadian farmers are facing ever-increasing pressures, including the continued drive to produce more with fewer resources,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech. “Masterfeeds provides the on-farm support that is critical to Canada’s farmers and ranchers. This new opportunity will enable more efficient delivery of superior animal nutrition and tailored feeding programs, supported by robust scientific research.”
Masterfeeds further strengthens Alltech’s presence in Canada by creating one of the country’s largest animal nutrition offerings. Alltech, Masterfeeds and EMF Nutrition, another Alltech-owned Canadian company, employ approximately 700 Canadians, operating 25 feed manufacturing and premix facilities, nine retail locations and seven distribution centers in a business spanning the entire country.
Alltech says the acquisition will accelerate product innovation through combined technology, research and on-farm modeling production, delivering greater value to farmers and ranchers.
Masterfeeds will continue to be headquartered in London, Ontario, Canada, and led by its current Chief Executive Officer, Rob Flack. In addition, Alltech’s own entity, Alltech Canada, remains headquartered in Guelph, Ontario, serving the entire Canadian feed industry.
The combined company will have a presence in 128 countries with more than 4,700 employees worldwide. Both parties expect the acquisition to result in significant new synergies over time.
Completion of the acquisition is expected by year-end and is subject to the execution of typical conditions, including regulatory approvals.
Alltech has more than tripled its sales in the last three years and is on target to achieve $4 billion USD in sales in the next few years. Since 2011, Alltech has completed 13 acquisitions successfully, with Masterfeeds becoming its 14th. This is Alltech’s second major acquisition in North America this year, following that of Ridley Inc. It is also Alltech’s second acquisition of a company headquartered in Canada, following the success in acquiring EMF Nutrition in 2013.
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London Poultry ShowWed Apr 05, 2017
Canada's Food Loss and Waste Forum | Finding solutionsWed Apr 12, 2017
Western Meeting of Poultry Clinicians and PathologistsWed May 17, 2017
B.C. Poultry SymposiumThu May 18, 2017
Canadian Meat Council 97th Annual ConferenceMon Jun 05, 2017
Poultry Innovations Conference and BanquetTue Nov 07, 2017