Tackle poultry production challenges with amino acid-based solutions: performance and sustainability
Feed represents more than 70% of the production cost for poultry or laying hen farming. Nutritional innovation is thus an important channel for improving economic and environmental performance. Consequently, a balanced intake in amino acids offers flexibility and a decrease in dietary protein levels. It also improves the profitability and sustainability of poultry farming.
Amino acid benefits for poultry
William Lambert, Innovation & Solution Manager
Life Cycle Analysis
Life cycle analysis (LCA) is the most effective tool for evaluating the environmental impacts of a product. The LCA is a standardized method that quantifies the environmental footprint of a product by taking into account its complete production cycle (from “cradle to grave”) and by measuring the different impact categories (multi-criteria approach). For the production of one kilogram of finished product (poultry meat, eggs), the LCA carried out by our teams makes it possible to measure:
- the impacts on climate change (greenhouse gas emissions),
- ground and water pollution (acidification and eutrophication),
- the consumption of resources (water, energy, farmable land).
Promote the sustainability of poultry farming: life cycle analysis and amino acids
In order to minimize the environmental impacts of poultry production, it is essential to consider its life cycle analysis. Indeed, through its overall approach, this technique makes it possible to avoid transferring impacts from one production stage to another and therefore select solutions that genuinely improve environmental performance.
At Ajinomoto Animal Nutrition Europe, we conduct various analyses on the life cycle of meat poultry production. These demonstrate that a strategy based on amino acid supplements combined with a reduction in dietary protein levels is a major factor for improving the environmental footprint. Amino acids make it possible to improve environmental performance at different stages in the life cycle.
- In terms of the raw materials used to feed the animals: needs in protein are reduced through a precise dosage of amino acids, which substitute raw materials such as soybean.
- In terms of the livestock farm, by decreasing acidification and eutrophication.
- Overall, by improving the nutritional efficacy of feeds, creating a virtuous circle in favor of poultry farming sustainability.
Economically-speaking, the use of amino acids as a substitute for raw materials such as soybean makes it possible to reduce dependency on imported proteins and encourage the use of local raw materials.
Reduce footpad dermatitis in chickens by focusing on their diet
Footpad dermatitis in chickens affects many poultry farms. The consequences are evaluated economically and in terms of the animals’ welfare. Reducing footpad dermatitis means working in favor of the sustainability of poultry production. To do this, it is necessary to improve the quality of the litters by reducing their humidity levels. These levels are directly correlated with the level of dietary proteins, which can be reduced thanks to amino acids.
Combatting footpad dermatitis in chickens requires a reduction in protein levels in the feed. This technique, along with a balanced and constant supply in amino acids, makes it possible to decrease levels in soybean (a raw material rich in potassium influencing water consumption) and nitrogen-rich excretions. Water consumption in animals is balanced once again, and the nitrogen load is reduced. Consequently, the broiler litters are drier and cleaner, reducing the occurrence of foot pad dermatitis, while the performance of the livestock increases in quality.
Why does using feed-use amino acids allow to lower dietary protein levels?
The protein level in feed indicates the quantity of nitrogen for the animal, but does not take into account the qualitative intake of amino acids. Consequently, certain amino acids can be provided in excess, while others are deficient. This imbalance causes metabolic disorders and results in nitrogen-rich excretions in the environment. On the other hand, using feed-use amino acids makes it possible to monitor the intakes in indispensable amino acids for the animal while reducing excessive dietary protein levels without impairing performance.
Optimize animal performance through specific expertise in nutritional requirements
Poultry farming must respond to multifactorial issues: the economy, environment, animal welfare and health.
In this context, amino acids make it possible:
- To more flexibly formulate feeds;
- To increase the value raw materials;
- To manage the nutritional value of feeds and predict animal performance;
- To set up nutritional strategies that respect the environment and the animal’s welfare;
- To respond to precise functional needs within a challenged health context.
Good to know! In order to maximize the benefits of amino acids in poultry feed, it is necessary to understand the animals’ response to each amino acid and take their interactions into consideration.
Improve the quality of eggshells through the diet of laying hens
The quality and hardness of eggshells are a major factor in livestock profitability.
Amino acids play a central role here. Indeed, two of them, tryptophan and valine, have direct impacts on eggshells’ hardness. A supply in amino acids corresponding to the feed intake levels of laying hens are essential in optimizing farm performance. Thanks to our customized solutions (AJI-CS™), we are able to provide targeted amino acid blends. They make it possible to reduce protein levels, improve the quality of eggshells and respond to the animals’ dietary needs.
Improve intestinal health with poultry feeds correctly dosed in amino acids
The intestinal comfort of poultry plays a major role in their health status. Nutrition is one of the key channels in optimizing gut health.
A balanced and precise supply in amino acids in poultry feeds makes it possible to avoid superfluous dietary intakes. This specifically reduces excess intakes in protein, which degrades the quality of the intestinal bacterial flora.
Beyond the protein-based synthesis, amino acids such as threonine, valine and arginine, play an essential role in the development of proteins involved in the immune system and intestinal integrity. The evaluation of their dietary intakes and their precise dosage in poultry feeds make it possible to respond to the specific animal health-related issues faced by farmers.
Amino acids requirements and ideal protein
Amino acid requirements for poultry were standardized through the concept of the ideal protein. It represents the correct supply of amino acids (related to the level of Lysine), which makes it possible to simultaneously decrease protein levels in the feed and optimize animal performance. However, along with reducing crude dietary protein, it is also necessary do modulate the ideal protein and adopt agile amino acid nutrition. This adjustment is done according to the livestock context, the criteria to improve, the age of the animals, the amino acid categories and the specific response to each amino acid.
Increase meat quality and breast meat yield
In order to meet the consumer’s requirements, meat poultry producers must improve the yield and quality of the meat.
Amino acids directly participate in the synthesis of muscular protein. Consequently, a constant or targeted supply (during certain periods) in poultry feed makes it possible to adjust the quality of the meat to see an improvement in its aspect and a higher yield.