Full focus on sustainable poultry production with DSM

11-03-2022 | |
Christie Chavis, vice president, animal nutrition and health performance solutions at DSM. Photo: DSM
Christie Chavis, vice president, animal nutrition and health performance solutions at DSM. Photo: DSM

The main trends that could be seen during the IPPE 2022 in Atlanta were health, antibiotic reduction, and, of course, sustainability. On this third topic, Poultry World sat down with Christie Chavis, vice president, animal nutrition and health performance solutions at DSM, for a Q&A session.

What are the biggest opportunities DSM sees when it comes to the whole sustainability discussion?

“According to a recent study, feed additives can reduce the environmental footprint of animal protein production by 10%, and that’s where we see a lot of potential for our Performance Solutions + Biomin portfolio to contribute to more sustainable animal protein. At DSM Animal Nutrition and Health, we continue to highlight the need for sustainable farming to meet the demands of an ever-growing global population.

“Our approach with ‘We Make it Possible’ is to address some of the biggest issues within the animal protein industry by leveraging scientific innovation and partnering with actors across the feed & food value chain. Moreover, progress relies upon credible and robust measurement, which is why we work with multiple stakeholders, customers, and leading experts to conduct environmental life cycle assessments of their farms.

“Within the sustainability discussion, many of the topics are interlinked. Feed represents anywhere from 50% to 70% of the total costs of livestock rearing and accounts for 50% to 80% of the environmental footprint of animal protein products. In the current context, producers are facing higher feed ingredient costs. It’s logical to look for strategies that improve efficiency – including feed enzymes, mycotoxin deactivators and eubiotics in our Performance Solutions + Biomin portfolio – that deliver not just higher output or feed cost savings that underpin profitability, but also support better animal health and welfare and reduce environmental emissions from farms. In line with this, we are focused on developing solutions that ensure a more efficient use of natural resources. For example, HiPhorius, our new fourth-generation phytase, reduces non-renewable phosphorus use in poultry, swine, and aquaculture diets by delivering at least 20% more phosphorus release at the same standard dose.

“We also see plenty of interest in the environmental footprint of egg, meat, and aquaculture production and expect this to ramp up quickly. Our customers are increasingly asking for information about the environmental footprint of DSM products such as premixes and additives that they rely upon to run their businesses. Many of the largest egg, poultry, pork, and dairy integrated producers worldwide are using Sustell to precisely measure and improve the environmental footprint of their farms. To me, this signals a meaningful shift in the discussion about sustainability and profitability: there’s greater recognition that the way forward is not one or the other, but both.”

Where can the company make the biggest impact and how does that translate to the operation of DSM’s customers?

“At the start of the year, we announced 3 new business lines within DSM Animal Nutrition and Health. We offer an unparalleled combination of expertise and science-based insight supported by an end-to-end portfolio that helps deliver sustainable animal farming solutions. Our 3 new business lines, which are Essential Products, Performance Solutions + Biomin, and Precision Services, are focused on adding value for our customers at the intersection of nutrition, health and sustainability. With what we consider to be the broadest and most innovative toolbox commercially available to feed and food producers, we can provide holistic solutions that address food and feed safety, nutrition, performance, sustainability, health and welfare. We are innovating in nutrition to positively influence health and well-being while reducing the environmental impact of protein production.”

Looking 5 years ahead, where do you want to be with DSM?

“Our long-term goals are firmly aligned with our sustainability platforms. These are: improving the lifetime performance of animals, reducing food loss and waste, reducing emissions from livestock, making efficient use of natural resources, reducing reliance on marine resources, and helping tackle antimicrobial resistance. I have a keen focus on building Performance Solutions + Biomin, and further deploying the idea of health through nutrition. To achieve this, we need to attract and retain the brightest minds in the industry. Thus, we also set the ambition for ourselves to be the best company to work for and the best company to work with. I hope that in 5 years we achieve that recognition from all of our stakeholders.”

Looking back at the last 2 years, how did DSM cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, i.e., supply chain issues, personnel, etc.?

“No doubt, the pandemic created new situations for us to face in the industry. I am personally very proud of how our organisation has come together and remained positive in such a globally turbulent and difficult time. We maintained a keen focus on our employee safety as well as doing what we could to ensure minimal disruption to our customers. We also had to find new ways to serve our customers without the face-to-face connections we used to have. As a business, we have done remarkably well over the last 2 years, which is a testament to the motivation and dedication of our employees across our offices, laboratories and production sites.”

What learnings could be implemented from that?

“Maintain safety first. At DSM, safety was and remains a top priority. If you have ever attended a DSM event or visited a DSM site, safety is at the top of the agenda. It’s literally the first point that’s addressed. So, it’s crucial to have safety in mind whether we’re talking about employees, customers, suppliers, research partners, or anyone we work with. What also became apparent is that supply chains matter a great deal. With our global production network, we work diligently to supply customers wherever they are located. In many places, there’s not a great deal of understanding about farming, and few people have a close connection to agriculture. The pandemic revealed that the people involved in producing and distributing food are essential to the economy and society. So, the work that we’re doing with our customers and other organisations across the value chain to improve livelihoods and the planet take on added importance. For me personally, having grown up on a farm and now having my own farm, it’s a positive sign and an indication that we’re doing something meaningful: helping to sustainably feed the planet.”

Circling back to the IPPE, what is the importance for in-person events for your company?

“Having been at IPPE I enjoyed the energy, connection and emotions with in-person events. However, our working environments have evolved to a hybrid approach. We aim to leverage the best of digital tools and offline interactions to serve our customers the way they want to be served. Digital tools have helped us communicate with our existing and potential customers, and we have continued to develop our award-winning online customer portal to enhance the quality of our service delivery. In-person sessions are great for understanding our customers, co-creating innovations, and providing robust face-to-face partnerships, including trials, knowledge exchange, and networking. We hope that circumstances will continue to allow us to step up this activity, where possible, while highly valuing the safety of clients, employees, suppliers, and stakeholders.”

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Fabian Brockotter Editor in Chief, Poultry World