During the opening of the 2019 Animal Feed Manufacturers’ Association (AFMA) symposium, De Wet Boshoff, executive director of AFMA, said that seeing old friends and forming new partnerships was what the symposium was all about. The annual symposium was hosted on 29 October at the CSIR International Convention Centre. Approximately 470 delegates attended the event to stay up to date with the latest science pertaining to feed additives, which was also the theme of this year’s symposium.

During the session on feed additives in practice, Dr Pieter Henning, divisional technical manager for ruminants at Meadow Feeds South Africa, said the number of feed additive companies that are members of AFMA has drastically increased in recent years. He also said this number will continue to grow in future as feed additives play an increasingly important role in the feed industry. Feed additives cover a wide range of ingredients ranging from mycotoxin binders, enzymes, probiotics and minerals, to name a few. Several of these additives were discussed at the symposium.

Mycotoxin control

The first session of the symposium had three international speakers who each discussed a different aspect of mycotoxin risk management. First up was Dr Dieter Moll, project and research team leader for Biomin in Austria, who said that although there is no universal mycotoxin binder, there are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing a mycotoxin feed additive. As each mycotoxin is unique and has a different mode of action, a variety of mycotoxin additives is necessary to ensure that all the bases are covered when mixing animal feed.

The speakers of the first session kicked off the symposium on a high note. From the left are Dr Alexandros Yiannikouris, research group director of the Chemistry and Toxicology Division at Alltech in the US, Dr Dieter Moll, project and research team leader for Biomin in Austria, Dr Graziano Mantovani, strategic marketing and technical swine lead Europe for Cargill Animal Nutrition in Italy. Dr Francois Crots, technical and sales director for monogastric nutrition at AFGRI Animal Feeds (far right), was the moderator for the session.

Dr Moll said that, in order to choose a binder according to the type of mycotoxin present, it is necessary to choose mycotoxin additives according to the results of analyses done on the raw materials. He also advised feed producers to use mycotoxin surveys to determine which mycotoxins commonly occur in a specific area. He highly recommended the surveys, papers and other data the Southern African Grain Laboratory (SAGL) makes available on their website each season.

Focus on research

Sound research is an important factor that must be considered when deciding on a feed additive. Dr Pieter Henning discussed the principles of good research that can be used as basis for formulation decisions. He said that it is important to judge all the data – the good, the bad and the ugly – when trying to determine if a feed additive really works. He also emphasised that good data rests on seven pillars, which include high quality, the right sample size (quantity), statistical significance, peer reviews, and relevance. It is also helpful to be aware of the latest technology that could improve the quality and effectiveness of feed additives.

Dr Philip Labuschagne, principle researcher for the polymers and composites group at the CSIR’s Centre for Nanostructures and Advanced Materials, discussed novel encapsulation technologies to improve the health benefits of feed additives. Encapsulation has several functions, including that it acts as protectant against degradation and evaporation, prolongs activity, improves absorption, and controls release.

Feeding the future

AFMA is dedicated in its effort to support the youth by awarding scholarships and prize money and giving recognition to students in the industry.

The following awards were made:

  • Koos van der Merwe Student of the Year award: Anna-Marie Verhoef (University of Pretoria).
  • Student Nutrition Poster award: Kyle Venter (University of Pretoria).
  • The Intervarsity Writers’ Cup: Sarah Davies (Stellenbosch University).
  • Professor Rob Gous scholarship: Mveleli Marareni. – Ursula Human, AgriOrbit