What is compound feed manufacturing?

Compound feed manufacturing is a process for producing feed based on composing a safe, balanced ration of feed using advanced animal nutrition science and feed processing technology. Feed formulators hold profound scientific expertise in animal nutrition, surpassing the knowledge of human nutrition. The main goal of a compound feed manufacturer is to make the most efficient use of safe and economically viable resources available, to produce a balanced feed meeting the farm animals’ physiological requirements and supporting their performance, allowing for an equally efficient, safe, and safe economically viable livestock production.

The compound feed can be delivered as a complete but complementary feed, adding to feed materials available at the farm level. Animal nutrition science lies at the basis of formulating the optimal feed ingredient mix to deliver all essential nutrients, such as protein, essential amino acids, energy, fibre, trace elements, minerals and vitamins to farm animals, meeting the farm animal’s nutritional requirements for optimal performance and health.

Indeed, a precondition for good animal health and welfare is that the animal gets a diet containing all the necessary macro- and micronutrients it requires. This is what compound feed is primarily designed for. An imbalance in nutrition can adversely affect the animal’s performance, and severe nutritional imbalance could even affect animal health and welfare. However, avoiding nutrient wastage and losses is also important in light of resource efficiency and environmental emissions control.

The key parameters of animal nutrition science used to be based on the crude content of proteins, fats and fibre. Nowadays, the indicators of animal nutritional requirements are based on digestible amino acids, the bioavailability of minerals, micro-ingredients, such as enzymes and gut flora stabilisers, and the identification and neutralisation of anti-nutritional factors. The innovative formulation can also be credited for reducing the exposure of livestock farmers to fine particles caused by the dusting potential of feed.

The formulated feed will also be adapted to the life stage of the farm animal as, for example, the stages of pre-weaning, post-weaning or post-lactating animals all require specific nutrients. Additional services offered by compound feed manufacturers to livestock farmers are dietetic feeds for farm animals facing particular stress situations. In the case of sick animals, the production of medicated feed, whose use may only be prescribed by a qualified veterinarian.

Compound feed processing technology has moved beyond simply milling and mixing feed ingredients. Over the years, the investment in heavy-duty industrial equipment with high technological and “smart” power has given feed manufacturers the capacity to operate specific processes with well-defined objectives. Grinding, pelleting, conditioning, coating and rumen protection have intended effects on animal performance, health, welfare, environment and product quality. To continue the improvement of knowledge in animal nutrition, compound feed manufacturers continuously invest in research and innovation to find the most sustainable alternatives. After all, animals require nutrients and not ingredients.

Whether it concerns compound or any other feed, the primary element to not causing animal health and welfare problems through the feed is to ensure it is safe. In addition, compound feed manufacturers apply all the knowledge that advanced animal nutrition science offers to formulate feed that fits the livestock farmer’s health management strategy to enhance the animal health status and prevent the need for veterinary treatment.

In producing feed for ruminants, particularly dairy cattle, compound feed producers often deliver a “power feed” concentrate. This ‘complementary feed’ usually aims to compensate for suboptimal nutritional levels in roughages, particularly during winter and is by no means produced to force an animal’s performance beyond its capacity.

European compound feed producers must adhere to a strict and elaborate regulatory framework that imposes requirements to ensure animal feed is safe for animals and animal products consumed by people.