Digitalization is happening in all types of industries, and the animal feed sector is certainly one of them. By working with feed data in a more digital way, we can not only better manage the nutritional data, but also quality control and feed formulation is improved.
While non-living things become ‘smart’, human beings become more efficient and aware. The digitalization journey is happening in all types of industries, each having their own adoption pace, needs and focus. In agriculture, the impact of digitalization is and will be enormous. And we see this happening throughout the food production chain; from farmers to animal feed producers, raw material traders and procurement and food processors.
Digitalization in agriculture has so much potential because of wealth of data gathered through the massive volumes that go around in food production. We produce over 1 billion tonnes of animal feed per year that allows our animals to produce 532 million tons of milk, 76.7 million tons of eggs, 137 million tonnes of poultry meat and many other animal products. The size of the livestock sector creates a wealth of input and output data regarding animal performance, nutrition, feed quality and more.
The data can be used to make better decisions, make things visual, see trends and better predict what is going to happen. Working with data means relying less on assumptions, but rather making decisions that are backed up with the data. Precision farming at its best. Precision farming is becoming a common term in crop farming, but also increasingly in livestock farming. Precision farming “simply” means applying the right measure at the right time, based on the right data and insights. In animal nutrition, precision feeding allows nutritionists to be more efficient with raw materials, better match the needs of the animal’s requirements, reduce feed losses, increase feed efficiency and optimize output of meat, milk and eggs. A change in the dosage of minerals or protein content for example can make a huge difference in terms of economics, but also in animal health and welfare. By being more precise, we can formulate diets that help farmers be more sustainable, resilient, and socially accepted. Precision feeding also means that we look at the animal’s requirements and better adapt the diets to these needs, taking animal species, age group, production status, market needs and the business objectives into consideration.