In the back from left is Dr Pieter Grimbreek (C4Africa), Tertio Nel (Business Manager) Evonik, Dr Ariane Helmbrecht (Business Director and Key Account) Evonik, Heinrich Ruth (Vice President Middle East and Africa) Evonik, and Martin Smith (Technical Service Director) Evonik. In front from left is Natasha van Niekerk (Junior Technical Service Manager) Evonik and Chantelle Fryer (Technical Sales Manager), Evonik.

On 29 October 2018, Evonik hosted their third annual customer seminar at the Farm Inn in Pretoria East. Each year this seminar grown in popularity with over 100 delegates attending this year. Guests travelled from as far as Sub-Saharan Africa.

Precision livestock farming

Heinrich Ruth, Vice President of sales in the Middle East and Africa for Evonik, opened the session.  He discussed the role of science in assisting the global challenge of producing more food for the growing population of the future. As a company that focuses on amino acid and gut health solutions this challenge can effectively be addressed through precision livestock farming (PLF). This is done through increasing the accuracy of feed formulations and combining this with artificial intelligence (AI) technology such as internet of things (IoT).

Optimizing amino acid requirements

Ariane Helmbrecht, Evonik Nutrition and Care GmbH, who travelled all the way from Germany to share her expertise in broiler nutrition. She discussed the interaction of a broiler’s genetic capacity with diet formulation. Ariane went into more details around the methods for determining amino acid digestibility and the current attempts at creating a global standard for the determination of ileal digestibility in poultry. In addition she discussed how amino acid requirements can change depending on gut health status and disease challenge, such as coccidiosis.

Precision dosing and mixing

Tertio Nel, business manager at Evonik in Southern Africa, shared insights into how they accurately formulate feed to achievable homogeneity while mixing additives with raw materials.  Additives need to be distributed evenly in the feed for it to be effective. Therefore, every batch that is mixed is sampled and tested to assure that homogeneity is standardised across all batches to ensure uniform performance in animal production. Horizontal and vertical mixing in mixers and the level the mixer is filled is also of the utmost importance for mixing feed properly. Regular maintenance of mixers is of the utmost importance to prevent cross-contamination of feeds as well as reducing risk of mould formation.

Guests from several Sub-Saharan African countries attended the day. From left is Njunga Mugo (Bidco-Land-O-Lakes) Kenya, Jacob J Matewe (Agrifoods), Zimbabwe, Dr Ahmed Simbah Mfaume (Silverlands) Tanzania.

Producing pigs without AGP’s

Dr Pieter Grimbeek, C4Africa, gave an informative talk on producing pigs without antibiotic growth promoters. He says that this is indeed possible, but that producers need to adapt their management plan, housing, biosecurity, hygiene and nutrition management accordingly. The success of such a system does however depend on the size of the farm, the type of producer, as well as the level and type of diseases on the farm. Some diseases can only be treated with antibiotics and in this case all antibiotics used must be monitor by data collection. This is also of importance for producers who want to promote their pork as AGP free, since such a product needs to be traceable and transparent to give consumers confidence in such statements.

Optimized nutrition through precision analytics

Natasha van Niekerk, Junior Technical Services Manager for Evonik, gave an update on the latest technology for determining raw material quality accurately using Near Infrared Spectroscopy. Evonik has developed calibrations to predict amino acids and proximate parameters on all commonly used feed raw materials and recently also launched proximate calibrations for complete poultry feeds. The latest addition to the service are calibrations for unground raw materials.

Gut health and nutrition interactions

Chantelle Fryer, Technical Services Manager for Evonik, gave a presentation on the interactions between nutrition on gut health. She highlighted the main intestinal challenges that face poultry today and explained how factors such as crude protein levels and the choice of the source of protein in diets can have an effect on maintaining a healthy gut. Chantelle explained how combining the correct probiotic with sound nutrition and good management practices can improve poultry health and performance.

Efficient protein nutrition in ruminants

Martin Smith, Evonik’s Regional Technical Director, MEA, gave a talk on amino acid and nitrogen nutrition in dairy cows. He explained that determining amino acid requirement is a complex process depending on the bacterial population within the rumen and also the quality of raw materials few to the cow. He showed some recent studies demonstrating that supplying adequate bypass methionine in the transition phase can improve future milk production.