Raising the efficiency of nutrition absorption in farm animals will be the next step in increasing farm productivity. This was the conclusion from the high-level biennial science gathering, InnoVision, organized by Nutreco research and development on June 18. Current research reveals that the potential exists to double the efficiency of metabolizing nutrients after absorption through the gut wall in farm animals. Achieving that potential would help meet the increasing demand for animal protein, and do so without increasing the use of limited feed raw material resources.

On average, the productivity of farm animals is 30-40 percent below their genetic potential. Innovations in animal nutrition are targeted towards optimizing performance on farm to narrow that gap. The InnoVision scientists concluded that, "Innovations in 'post-absorptive efficiency' can help close the gap between genetic potential of animals and their performance on farm, thereby contributing to sustainably increasing animal protein production: producing more from less."

At InnoVision, Nutreco scientists met animal science researchers from New Zealand, the United States, France and the Netherlands. During the meeting, Nutreco research and development professionals gained insight on the opportunities to improve "post-absorptive nutrient efficiency." 

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Professor Den Hartog, director of research and development and quality affairs at Nutreco said, "At our previous InnoVision meeting in 2011, we concluded that nutrition targeting animal health would boost productivity and sustainability. Since then we have seen great research results leading to successful concepts and products in the positive influence of functional ingredients on the health status of the animal gut and the role of its microbial population in animal performance. This year at InnoVision we identified a similarly promising research area. There are still many unknowns in the key factors and mechanisms that drive post-absorptive efficiency. We now have clear focus points for our research to go forward, such as functional ingredients to modulate and support metabolism and to balance the nutrient cost of events such as immune responses."

During his speech at the multi-stakeholder AgriVision conference that follows InnoVision, Professor Leo den Hartog, spoke about Nutreco's focus areas in animal nutrition. In addition to feed efficiency, key focus areas are young animal nutrition, preventive gut health and precision feeding.