The animal feed story — feed quality, feed utilisation and protein availability (XC11)

Improving the quality and use efficiency of animal feed, is essential to achieve economic and environmental sustainability in livestock production, while meeting increasing demand for meat and dairy products from a fixed amount of land, without compromising the functioning of essential ecosystem services. The provision of economically and environmentally sustainable protein feeds is a particular research priority within the animal feed story. Concentrate feeds represent a major cost for farmers, and the need for protein is often met by imported soy. This has led to concern about the economic sustainability of reliance on a single crop, as well as the environmental externalities associated with its production and import.

MACSUR2 examines the multi-disciplinary challenge of developing sustainable high quality feed sources for the EU livestock production sector. Modelling the effects of climate change on grass and crop quality, including assessments of home-grown protein feed crops, will be an important aspect of this activity. Farm-scale modelling can explore the economic and environmental costs of changes in feed quality as well as the use of alternative protein sources. At the regional scale, economic modellers can analyse the consequences of changes in feed quality, and of growing import-dependency for protein crops. Activities on this topic will complement and support thematic activities, such as the proposed LiveM tasks on modelling herbage quality and farm-scale adaptation to climate change.

Tasks

XC11.1: Overview on studies and research activities relevant for the animal feed story and development of region specific livestock diets
XC11.2: Suggestion of future livestock diets under conditions of climate change and reduction of protein imports

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