ForFarmers has launcheda trial together with the Department of Entomology at Wageningen University inthe Netherlands, to explore the impacts of live insects as a source of proteinin broilers diet.
Leon Marchal, Nutrition & Innovation Director atForFarmers commented, The most important research question is whether thechicks are growing healthily and at a sufficient rate in comparison to atraditional diet. We also want to look at whether the broilers naturalbehaviour will improve as a result of the addition of live insects. If thisproject proves to be a success, it will be an important step towards furthersustainability within the industry.
The trial is beingconducted at ForFarmers experimental farm in Nijkerk, Netherlands, where atotal of 1,000 chicks are being fed in four different groups. A control groupwill be given a traditional diet, while the remaining three will be given 5%,10% or 15% respectively of black soldier fly larvae. The high protein contentof these larvae replaces up to 75% of a protein like soya.
The larvae from thisspecies are truly omnivorous and are relatively easy to grow, according toAlbert Dijkslag, Poultry Innovation Manager at ForFarmers. This will alsoresult in profit for the farmer and increase sustainability. These larvae aregrown on residual flows from the food industry. These residual flows and the proteinwithin these would otherwise end up in biomass (fuel), however now they areavailable as feed. And if the trial proves successful, we will have found analternative source of protein.
Natural nutrition andbehaviour
The trial with thebroilers started last week. The initial results are expected in September. Thevarious different parties involved think it will be some time before the largescale supplementing of diets with live insects can be introduced in practice.The application is currently quite expensive. But its definitely a good firststep and mind-set. If we see positive results, we will continue with thefurther optimisation and development of the trial, Dijkslag explained.
Marchal added, Thenice thing here is that chickens in the wild are naturally omnivorous andinsects would feature as part of their diet, the outcome of the projecttherefore could be to help birds further express their natural behavior.
ForFarmers wants to bea leader in sustainability, given its position in the food chain. ForFarmers isproviding a contribution to an economically viable and sustainable foodproduction by efficiently producing animal feeds and developing products andconcepts which allow the animals to utilise the food in a healthier and betterway (improved feeding efficiency). This trial with live insects indicatesForFarmers is really giving substance to its sustainability ambition.