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ExPress the Genetic Potential of your Animals

There is a certain maximum achievable biological response that is specific to each individual living organism.  This response is controlled by the genetic composition of the individual, as well as the environment within which rearing occurs.  In nearly every case, an individual will not maximize genetic potential due to at least some negative environmental conditions – diseases, challenging atmospheric conditions outside, difficult indoor living environments, and inadequate or unbalanced nutrition.

One of the goals of livestock producers is to maximize the genetic potential of their food-producing animals by minimizing the factors that impede the biological response – weight gain, lean muscle deposition, and others.  Providing a diet formulated to meet the essential nutrient needs of a species and strain is a major part of animal production.  This is an environmental factor that must be optimized for performance.

Therefore, it is important to use high-quality ingredients to supply essential nutrients.  Quality can be defined as the total amounts of nutrients in raw materials, and amounts available after processing.  Typically, mass-produced commodities are available to the livestock nutritionist, along with alternatives that have demonstrated advantages over commodities.

A good example can be found with soybeans, which mainly provide protein and energy in the form of oil.  Both are essential to support livestock performance.  They also contain potent antinutritional factors, which hinder digestion and performance.  Therefore, soybeans must be heat processed.  The commodity approach, which involves heating and hexane-extraction for oil isolation, produces solvent-extracted soybean meal.  High-shear, dry extrusion followed by mechanical oil pressing (or expelling) to separate the oil from meal results in ExPress® soy meal.  So, even though the material is the same at the beginning – soybeans – differences in processing result in different ingredients at the end.  And therefore, the genetic potentials of animals will be expressed differently as well.

For example, when a commercial farm switched from using commodity soybean meal plus fat, and started using ExPress® soy meal, heavier egg case weights were realized faster (1).  This is important as larger eggs are more valuable than smaller ones.

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Similarly, a swine feeding trial demonstrated that ExPress® soy meal maximized growth performance when replacing commodity meal, and diets containing by-products of the ethanol industry (DDGS) and fat (2).  Therefore, days to market could be reduced, in some cases with less feed intake, with ExPress® soy meal.

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Lastly, catfish growth was much greater with an extruded soy mix containing ExPress® soy meal compared to commodity soybean meal (3). Also, the addition of fish meal, an essential, expensive component of aquaculture diets, only slightly improved catfish performance with ExPress® soy meal.

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It is clear that using high-quality alternative ingredients is a simple way to express the genetic potential of livestock.  Commodity, solvent-extracted soybean meal will limit this biological response.

References:
(1)   Data and details of commercial farm available upon request
2)   Benz et al., 2007. EFFECTS OF DRIED DISTILLERS GRAINS WITH SOLUBLES AND EXTRUDED EXPELLED SOYBEAN MEAL ON GROWTH PERFORMANCE AND CARCASS CHARACTERISTICS OF GROW-FINISH PIGS. Kansas State University Swine Day Publication.
(3)   Robinson et al., 1985. EVALUATION OF DRY EXTRUSION-COOKED PROTEIN MIXES AS REPLACEMENTS FOR SOYBEAN MEAL AND FISH MEAL IN CATFISH DIETS. Prog. Fish Cult.