Optimizing your poultry feed formulation program

When asked to weigh in on the primary business challenges of 2021, 85% of the poultry industry surveyed cited the cost of grain and its quality with 68% as two of their top concerns.-Wattaganet 

With the volatility of feed prices, finding quality ingredients for your poultry feed formulation program is that much more important to help offset the rising feed and raw material costs.  

Finding the right feed formulations for your feed program can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack unless you have tools that allow you to correlate performance back to every ingredient and cost.  

Having traceability of all your KPI’s including feed and raw materials will allow you to understand what factors bring the most impact to allow for optimal performance. Precision farming, and especially precision nutrition, will help to optimize feed efficiency with positive effects on animal health, animal welfare, and the environment. 

In this article, we will go over a few benefits of precision nutrition and walk you through some examples on how technology and science can help you optimize your feed formulation program.  

Benefits of precision nutrition & feeding in your poultry feed formulation program

Increased sustainability: One Canadian study found that precision nutrition is linked to increased sustainability. In this study, academic leader and professor, Martain Zuidhof, from the University of Alberta stated “if you provide the right nutrients at the right time-you can reduce the nitrogen and phosphorus excretion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

Maximize bird response to nutrients: Tracking every ingredient formulation to see which ones are linked to better performance will allow you to improve the efficiency of feed utilization. Proper analysis, combined with IoT technology that can capture exact target weights you’ll be able to understand which ingredients bring results. Fine tuning the diets to closely match the requirements of the birds, helps to optimize efficiency of nutrient utilization. 

Improved health and welfare: If the birds are being fed the right nutrient requirements it is likely they will be healthier and happier. Precision Nutrition and feeding provide an opportunity for increased animal welfare.  

Accurate predictions of performance and profit: Ultimately, utilizing precision nutrition methods and technology, you’ll be able to have all the data needed to understand dependents like age, sex, temperature, day old chick price, feed cost and/or final product margin etc. With access to a system that utilizes machine learning, you’ll be able to build if this than that scenarios based on feed intake and more. With the right tools in place, you’ll be able to easily compare actual vs. potential performance to uncover the needed steps for better performance and business growth.  

Positive end consumer perception: End consumers are looking for proof when they see labels like antibiotic-free. Traceability from farm to fork is a big part of precision farming.  

Leveraging technology & science for improved precision feeding & nutrition  

If you have the right tools in place to collect and analyze data precision nutrition will no longer be a guessing game. Today’s technologies use a modern approach that’s easier and allow for improved accuracy and results. If you’re looking to optimize your feed program your recipe for success will include technologies like IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Business Intelligence, Data Science, and more.  

There are many potential steps take to optimize your feed program. One path is to utilize data science. In the example below, our lead data scientist, Evan Sadlon used a model to analyze finisher feed vs. Starter feed to determine which one impacted bird weight the most. The potential business impact and explanation of his findings is detailed below:  

Improve feeding program performance by finding winning combinations 

Data science can be used to compare any combination of variables simultaneously to determine the optimal decision.  

“In the scenario above, finisher feed is compared with starter feed to see which one impacted bird weight the most (different colors represent bird weight) (side number represents lbs of feed). So this is telling you that if the birds ate one pound of starter and four pounds of finisher, they weighed the most compared to birds that eat 1.2 pounds of starter. And by looking at this chart, you know after four pounds of finisher, they weighed a little bit less.” 

Potential business impact: Optimize your feeding program, find out how the different ingredients and formulas interact with one another, and then apply to future flocks to save money on feed and boost performance. Evaluate raw material quality and composition by using AI; to then correlate diets to performance. 

Growth strategy for precision nutrition  

Finding the right strategy to start optimizing your feed program can be challenging. MTech Systems’ feed software consultants can help you come up with the right strategy and action plan. MTech Systems has over 30 years of experience helping leading producers across the globe. Improving data management practices is the first step to impact any key metric, including optimizing your feed program. Not sure where to start? Download our roadmap formatted as a board game to find out the next digital transformation step for your business.   

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