Calgary, ALBERTA — As farming operations around the world fortify resources and strategies to maintain a strong high-quality food supply amid a global pandemic, a driving force helping protect their livestock and keep efficient and profitable production flowing has emerged in the form of newly advanced feed science technology.
“Long before the pandemic we had seen the beginnings of a major shift in focus toward animal feed and nutrition as a top area of opportunity, particularly related to the potential for further science and technology based innovations in these areas,” says Rob Patterson, Technical Director of Canadian Bio-Systems (CBS Inc.), a leading bio-based feed technology company on the front line of this evolution.
“This was for several reasons including, very prominently, the need to help animal agriculture transition to a new era with greater efficiency and customization demands coupled with increasing restrictions on conventional tools such as antimicrobials. We see the pace of this trend now greatly accelerating in the face of the pandemic, as more producers embrace opportunities to innovate and keep production-sustaining profits flowing.”
The trend also comes amid growing signs of a ‘pandemic reset' mindset among consumers, who are becoming less transfixed on niche attributes. “As an animal nutritionist who also closely follows the human nutrition side, it has been very interesting to watch the public conversation in recent weeks,” says Sabrina Zettell, Nutrition and Technical Service Manager with CBS Inc. “We are hearing a lot less talk about former buzz trends like plant-based, and much more focus on appreciating the fundamental yet immense value of simply having a resilient supply of high-quality, healthy, nutritious, cost-effective food — including high-protein, nutrition-rich poultry, swine and ruminant products.
“As part of this, we are also seeing a more demonstrated and growing appreciation for the farmers and the broader system that produces our food — including for the ongoing innovations that are helping us to protect, maintain and continually modernize and strengthen this system.”
Both within and outside of agriculture, there is growing awareness of the links that bind animal feed and nutrition with animal health, wellness, welfare and productivity, which in turn connect with and support human health, says Zettell “Natural immunity in particular is becoming a high profile concept during the pandemic. People are making the connection that high quality nutritious food is not only generally essential to human well being but also specifically to supporting a high level of natural immunity to disease threats.”
Natural immunity in particular is becoming a high profile concept during the pandemic.
Though direct threats of COVID-19 to livestock have not been shown, the concept of supporting natural immunity is equally important in food animals, and in turn to the food supply, notes Mark Peters, CBS Inc. Sales and Marketing Director. “Part of the reason we’re seeing the growing focus on science-based feed and nutrition innovation within agriculture is the rising awareness that it helps address natural immunity within the animals. Also, more broadly, because it is one of the few areas that can check all the boxes that positively impact efficient and profitable production.”
The drive toward adopting the latest advances is rapidly accelerating, says Peters. “We’re hearing a consistent message from our team, partners and customers around the world. Everyone is recognizing it has never been more important to embrace innovation. We need to take advantage of all the latest technologies at our disposal in agriculture. In the area of animal feed and nutrition, the pace of advancement has been particularly high. That’s good news for our sector as we face the challenges of the current environment.”
This mindset has been reflected in business activity related to feed technology, which for CBS Inc. has remained at a robust pace, even reaching record levels during early phases of the pandemic. “We have ramped up our production to support customers as much as possible,” says Krisjan Jones, CBS Inc. Operations Director. “The benefits of the latest feed technology covers a wide range, from supporting animal health, wellness and welfare, to quality, efficiency and ultimately sustainability and profitability of livestock operations, which in turn supports the food supply chain as a whole. All of these advantages are always important but become even more essential during challenging times like the world is now experiencing.”
The expanding momentum of the past several years — now pacing even higher with the pandemic — has boosted the rate of adoption of numerous enhanced feed technology innovations across poultry, swine and ruminant sectors. For CBS Inc, top categories of innovation have centred on a number of Feed Science Platforms. These include Multi-Carbohydrase enzyme technology, enhanced yeast technology, functional fatty acids, and phytogenetics and probiotics.
Among recent highlights, CBS Inc. has developed and launched novel “CBS Yeast Bioactives” as a brand new category of feed technology, designed for use as a supplement in diets for poultry, swine and ruminants – including via a brand new liquid formulation for use in water. Aligning with broad industry trends, this technology has emerged among the leading new options for operations in supporting transition to and maintenance of reduced antimicrobial and RWA (raised without antibiotics) systems.
The company has also championed the broadened availability of MCFA (medium chain fatty acids) based feed technology via Biotica — a leading edge-functional feed additive that fits well with advanced strategies designed to support health, well-being and overall performance of animals, inducing those raised under strict judicious use principles regarding the use of antibiotics.
The core technology featured as a component of Biotica is a new and improved third generation of a technology that has been well established for many years in Europe, where it has earned a proven track record and strong reputation for use in systems that have greatly restricted or phased out antimicrobial use.
“All of the advancements mean more options for producers that truly make a difference at the farm gate level, benefiting the animals as well as the farmers and their customers,” says Owen Jones, CBS Inc. founder and President. “As we continue to strive for further progress in animal agriculture, this aligns with our philosophy that it is critically important to adopt solutions that not only meet marketplace needs and expectations but support our producers on the front line. Making sure we take care of our farmers is essential to have a successful future for our industry and for everyone who depends on it.”
CBS Inc. is an innovation-focused company that researches, develops and manufactures a wide range of bio-based products used in feed, food and industrial applications. More information on CBS Inc. Feed Science Platforms is available at fsp.canadianbio.com and additional CBS Inc. information is available at www.canadianbio.com.