Digestibility enhancement is ranked as the number one reason that the livestock industry uses phytogenic feed additives as per recently concluded survey of more than one thousand agribusiness professionals.
The antimicrobial effects of phytogenics ranked second overall—while they constituted the top motivation for respondents in the Western hemisphere. The use of PFAs within an antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) replacement strategy and growth promotion ranked third and fourth place, respectively.
“Research supports the perceived benefits that professionals report in the field,” stated Michael Noonan, Global Product Manager Phytogenics at BIOMIN. Plant-based compounds –specifically essential oils, herbs and extracts– are known to have a range of biologically active properties that can be applied to modern animal production. These include anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and digestion enhancing effects.
Feed conversion key
When asked about the relative importance of the benefits of phytogenic feed additives to their business, respondents overwhelmingly chose enhanced feed efficiency, or an improved feed conversion ratio (FCR) as the most important benefit of PFA application.
“Feed efficiency speaks to the core concern of every livestock and feed producer in a globally competitive market,” observed Mr Noonan. “At BIOMIN, improving feed efficiency has been the main thrust of our research and product development around phytogenics in recent years.”
The survey also explored reasons why respondents do not use PFAs. They cited a lack of scientific and commercial trial results along with uncertainty regarding which product to choose as the top 3 reasons not to use phytogenics.
“To deliver innovative science-based solutions, we co-authored 20 scientific papers on phytogenics in 2016 and conducted over 300 commercial trials on PFAs in recent years,” explained Mr Noonan.
Research and education are key to how BIOMIN engages with the industry on phytogenics, as part of its ambition to become market leader in phytogenics by 2020.
“By collecting customers’ views, we gain a greater understanding of where agribusiness professionals see value in the use of PFAs and what challenges they encounter in real life. It’s a way for us to connect science with better outcomes for clients,” said Mr Noonan.
“These results afford us the opportunity to enter into genuine dialogue about the current state of the art in phytogenic feed additives, and how they can apply to specific on-farm scenarios,” he added. BIOMIN deploys a global team of expert technical sales managers who support clients through on-site visits, education and advice.
According to BIOMIN projections, the PFA market could surpass US$1 billion by 2023.