When additives of all kinds became the trend in the 90s, their main achievement was in terms of enhanced growth performance. Such was, for example, the case of zinc oxide and animal plasma. Later on, as animal overall health status was improved through enhanced biosecurity measures (and a higher understanding of the relationship between health status and growth performance), the reliance on such feed additives diminished; but it has not entirely disappeared.
Instead, the next wave of additives focused more on enhancing health, either at the whole animal level (such as immunostimulants) or more specifically at the gut level (for example, yeast derivatives). These additives also appear to be on the decline nowadays, as focus has again shifted from higher performance and enhanced health to reduced feed cost. This is, of course, the result of the ongoing crisis in feed prices that are forecasted to remain high for the foreseeable future.
So, what kind of additives will be most successful in today’s conditions?
In my opinion, the answer is easy: additives that allow for a lower cost per kilogram of feed.
The old argument that it is best to look at cost per kilogram of meat produced is still valid, but no longer as strong when one considers that many producers have a serious problem in capital liquidity and bank-extended credit. Thus, for many poultry and pig producers (and among those are accounted some really large operations), it is no longer a matter of enhancing profitability, but rather reducing cost, at any cost; and, feed remains the number one cost variable.