More animal feed needs to come from domestic and renewable resources, with less dependence on imported grain and soyameal, the UK Soil Association states in a recently published report.
The report, Feeding the animals that feed us, aims to kick-start discussions over feeding regimes in UK and the use of grain and imported soya, especially in poultry rations.
“This is a highly inefficient use of resources – the dependence on grain and soya imported from across the globe makes our food systems much less resilient and adds to the vulnerability in our food chain,” the report says.
The report blames the trend towards intensive factory farming systems over the past 60 years that has meant chickens, cows and pigs are now eating less grass and food waste.
Gloucestershire farmer John Newman’s organic Abbey Home Farm is cited as a case study of an operation which has successfully switched to supplying around 50% of its feed from on-farm production. Newman keeps 350 layers and 700 Ross cross Hubbard broilers and changed the feeding regime last October.
“When I first started looking into different feed options, several nutritionists said a new system wouldn’t work. There is an impression that you have to be exact when feeding monogastrics, but they are more adaptable than you think,” Newman says. Birds are fed on 50% cereal from the farm and 50% protein, which is bought-in. Using this new feed system, the report claims Newman has saved around £100/t.