Access to organic soya oil has enabled ForFarmers to revolutionise organic layer diets with its new range of VitaFocus organic feeds.
ForFarmers accomplished UK National coverage of its range of VitaFocus layer feeds, the unique feed regime formulated with organic soya oil.
But how does ForFarmers design organic diets – and then produce organic feed at the mills?
Here, National Poultry Advisor Andrew Fothergill talks us through the steps to both.
“Diets are designed in terms of their protein, oil, minerals, and calories to deliver the daily nutrients required by the bird, according to both her physiological state and productive output.
“We begin with the nutrient composition and a prediction of the feed consumption. Two of the key drivers of feed consumption are environmental temperature and the calorific density of the diet.
“Having established the daily calorie requirement, we then optimise the balance of energy and consumption.
“We want to optimise the diet to ensure the bird’s capacity to consume sufficient feed evenly and easily, given the feeding time and space available in the daily routine.
“Once we know the ideal calorific density, we can then match all the other nutrients to the predicted intake to support the bird’s maintenance and production requirements.
“The next step is to consider which ingredients are available and their value in terms of their nutrient contribution. Here we use analysis of ingredients alongside previous performance trials.
“For organic feed, all agricultural crop ingredients need to be procured from strictly audited sources to ensure they meet organic standards of feed formulation.
“These ingredients must be segregated throughout their production, handling, and delivery.
“We then formulate using computer software that identifies the best use of available raw materials, to deliver all nutrient and individual ingredient constraints that we require for the formulation.
“Some nutrients are relatively simple and precise to deliver, such as protein, minerals, and oils.
“However, there are then fractions and features of the diet which are not so easily described as nutrients, but which have a significant impact upon the bird’s wellbeing, behaviour, and productivity.
“Here, we make sure that we tailor the feed to ensure the correct diet physical structure and dietary fibre.
In the mill
The correct feed structure is achieved by selecting the right raw material mix, which delivers nutrients and physical form.
To meet both requirements, we include ingredients such as sunflower meal which deliver fibre and protein.
These examples are relatively low in calorie content, so the diet is balanced by using organic soya bean oil to meet energy requirements.
Mixing the Ingredients
We use specifically designed blending machinery to ensure optimum mixing of ingredients, breaking all grains into a standard particle size.
We need good texture to stimulate the gizzard of the bird and to flow through bulk feeding systems.
The use of organic soya oil in the mix helps lubricate the meal to have good flow characteristics and present well to the bird.
The whole process is audited by certification schemes to ensure an approved organic supply.
“Rotating metal beaters reduce the particle size dependent on their speed and proximity settings to the chamber walls.
“This operation requires careful management all around – it’s an art as much as an engineering process.
“At this point, the feed is ready for delivery to our customers.
“Following investment into the specialist equipment needed, the VitaFocus regime is available nationally across three mill sites Selby, Penrith, and Portbury.”