Successful Feeds and Nutrition Course
Many participants from various countries attended the Feeds and Nutrition Course, organized in June 2023 by Schothorst Feed Research. In just one week, the course offers a full overview of nutrient evaluation, animal requirements, feed and ingredient composition, processing, nutritional management and feed formulation for dairy, poultry and swine.
The course is divided into many different modules: “This setup enables each participant to ‘mix and match’ modules, compose their own program, and design their own ‘tailor-made’ course”, says Francesc Molist, R&D manager of Schothorst Feed Research.
This setup is greatly appreciated by the participants: “Whether you just recently started working in the feed sector, or you feel that your knowledge needs an update, or you have switched from, e.g., dairy nutrition to poultry nutrition, the course offers useful information for all target groups”, one of the attendees explains.
The location of the course – Intell Hotel in Zaandam – is ideal because of the close proximity to Schiphol airport, the excellent facilities, and picturesque look of the venue.
In each module, renowned experts from Schothorst Feed Research share their knowledge and expertise. Because the group sizes are small (ten to twenty attendees), interactive discussions with the course leader are encouraged. “It is also valuable to exchange ideas and experiences between participants, and to learn about nutritional strategies in other countries”, says one of the course members: “It makes you reflect upon your own habits as a nutritionist, livestock consultant or researcher. The course has opened my mind and gave me new insights to think about.”
The first modules are focused on raw materials used in livestock nutrition (their nutrient composition, digestibility, optimal processing, et cetera), and on diet formulation in relation to the requirements of the target animal.
In other modules, animal species specific information is provided. The latest scientific research findings are discussed, as well as feed evaluation systems: “We need to fulfil the nutritional needs of all animal species in all stages of life, and that is quite a challenge: The still ongoing genetic progress in performance of livestock animals changes their requirements, we learn more about feed ingredient composition and variation, and new raw materials become available for the feed sector. Continuous updating of feeding values is, therefore, a must”, says Molist. Implications of new insights for practical feeding management on the farm are also a theme in the various modules.
In this twelfth edition of the course, special attention was focused on hot topics, like animal welfare and environmental impact of livestock and animal nutrition. As an example: slower growing broilers, laying hens with intact beaks, and piglets with intact tails require extra attention, also from a nutritional point of view. Livestock has an impact on the environment, e.g., through emissions of greenhouse gases and minerals (nitrogen and phosphorus). The livestock industry is encouraged to decrease emissions to the environment. Adaptations of diet composition, or the use of specific feed additives may help to fulfil these demands from society and policy makers. These modern challenges for the livestock and feed industry were also tackled and discussed in the course.