An interview with ADM Vice President Animal Nutrition Research, Dr. Ryan Lane
eFeedLink: ADM is a technically-inclined and innovative company in the fields of animal health and nutrition. Please share with our readers the latest technical developments at the company.
ADM is investing in new research and development capabilities for targeted nutrient delivery, allowing us to shorten the time from product development to commercial launch. One recent example of our investment is our acquisition of Biopolois, which provides ADM with insights into gut microbiology and the effective application of prebiotics and probiotics along with feed enzymes.
Additionally, we are actively seeking, and will continue to acquire, talented professionals to ADM Animal Nutrition's research and development team. Recent examples include: Jolene Hoke, a companion animal technical specialist with expertise in pet food premix formulations and ingredient blending; Dr. John Bowzer, a research scientist and subject matter expert in aquaculture; and Dr. Fernando Almeida, a swine and poultry nutritionist and gastrointestinal physiology expert.
The growth and development of livestock and feed production vary in different parts of the world. What are the biggest technical concerns you see from farmers and feed millers in different regions and countries of the world? What are the common concerns among industry people in countries with different levels of economic and social developments?
Outside the United States, feed millers are looking for consistent sources of nutrition and technology that offer flexibility in formulations. One issue feed millers face today is a volatile supply of fish meal and oil for use in rations. In a growing industry where fish meal and oil supplies are finite, feed millers are looking to reduce the volatility associated with some feed ingredients by effectively displacing them with technological solutions that meet nutritional requirements without being subject to supply restrictions and price volatility.
ADM is committed to the aquaculture business and has developed DHA Natur™, a dried micro-algae that contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA Natur™ is a highly concentrated, vegetarian source of DHA omega-3 that has been developed from heterotrophic algae through advanced fermentation technology. DHA Natur™ has been designed to help feed millers provide a consistent, economical source of DHA.
Regarding concerns from customers in regions with varying levels of economic and social development – ADM understands that demand for protein like meat and milk in these regions will grow along with increases in population and income. Satisfying a growing demand for these proteins will require more efficient production of livestock and aquaculture, and nutrition plays a large role in that dynamic.
We understand that animal nutrition has been highlighted as a focus growth area for ADM. In terms of technologies, what is in your opinion are the main contributions ADM has made to the feed and livestock sector since the birth of the company, or the start of its animal nutrition business?
ADM has provided feed ingredients to the industry for over 100 years. The animal nutrition division is in a unique position to deliver feed ingredients with economies of scale. We identify and manage the nutrients that matter and transform co-streams into value-added products like amino acids.
Production of amino acids is the largest contribution ADM has made to the feed and livestock sector. As the global demand for amino acids increases, ADM's expertise in manufacturing and logistics has positioned the company as a global leader in amino acid supply.
Please share with our readers the past experience, yours and that of ADM's, you would bring to bear in your role as Vice President Animal Nutrition Research to drive future research activities and solution innovations. What is the key focus of current research activities?
Our focus is on building upon our capabilities to develop a distinctive speciality ingredients portfolio that will provide greater opportunities for our customers. ADM Animal Nutrition's competitive advantage is that R&D is centralized, meaning we have access to experts from all different areas of the company and can easily assemble a team of chemists, nutritionists, and engineers to drive research activities and product development plans.
We understand that you had previously held leadership positions to drive technological developments in the aquaculture sector. We are aware that ADM Animal Nutrition is expanding into the aquaculture sector. What are the technical innovations we can expect to see from ADM Animal Nutrition in the aquaculture sector?
Within the aquaculture portfolio, ADM Animal Nutrition is currently developing products to help customers maintain optimal animal performance and impact the economic sustainability of the industry as a whole. One product we already covered in this discussion was DHA Natur™, our specialty ingredient product intended to displace fish meal and oil in aquaculture, pet food and traditional livestock diets. Other aqua ingredients you can expect from ADM Animal Nutrition are complex proteins like PROPLEX® DY - a consistent, high-quality protein source that can help improve cost of gain by providing highly digestible amino acids.
ADM Animal Nutrition is probably most well-known for its premixes and amino acids. In recent years, ADM Animal Nutrition has evolved into a solutions provider with more functional additives such as CitriStim®. Please explain the driving force behind the business model renaissance.
We strongly believe our experience in the amino acid and premix space gives us a unique perspective on our customer's product needs. CitriStim® is a unique, whole-cell, inactivated yeast that ADM Animal Nutrition successfully launched into the market. Our success with CitriStim® has been a cornerstone in our desire to build a specialty ingredient portfolio based on the value it delivers to our customers and our company.
With innovative companies like ADM offering antibiotic-replacement alternatives and solutions to improve animal performance, roles traditionally the domain expertise of animal pharmaceutical firms, what in your opinion would be the function of the latter in future? Are there complementary roles for both business groups?
Strategic partnerships are key. We are actively engaged in partnerships with biotechnology companies, feed producers, feed millers and pharmaceutical firms as they shift their businesses away from antibiotics.
ADM Animal Nutrition understands specific application needs and leverages our core competencies of "fermentation and separations" to develop products that help to achieve optimal production without the use of antibiotics.
Please share with our readers some success stories of your customers around the world that have adopted ADM Animal Nutrition's technological innovations and brought benefits to their feed milling and farming operations.
During times of heat stress it is well known that livestock production is hampered. To help relieve the negative effects of heat stress on livestock ADM developed the specialty ingredient Thermal Care™ R. In ADM conducted interviews, producers stated they observed positive responses to inclusion of Thermal Care R in the diets of heat-stressed lactating dairy cows.
We understand that ADM Animal Nutrition has created a product to illustrate the economic advantages of alleviating heat stress in dairy cattle for a producer. Could you tell us more about this and its functions and the benefits to a user?
This is our previously mentioned specialty ingredient for ruminants, Thermal Care™ R which is comprised of a proprietary blend of components that work together to mitigate the negative effects of heat stress. When paired with a proper diet and management, studies conducted by ADM Animal Nutrition at a commercial dairy farm in Tulare, California, as well as research from the University of Georgia and Arizona State University, have shown Thermal Care™ R provided an effective and economical solution for overcoming heat stress.
We understand that ADM Animal Nutrition conducts research with many universities and industry affiliates. Could you share with us some details and brief information on these projects?
ADM Animal Nutrition understands the value of academic partners and works closely with several universities around the world. One such example is the collaboration between our Pet Nutrition team and the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois to gain insights on alternative ingredient solutions for pet food. Additionally, we have worked with China's Agricultural University and Nanjing Agricultural University to conduct research trials.
Please share with our readers how ADM Animal Nutrition provides technical services to customers in different parts of the world. Do you have technical teams in each country where ADM Animal Nutrition has a presence? Please describe the level of support you would provide to farms and feed mill operations with some specific examples.
ADM has a global presence with approximately 32,000 employees serving customers in more than 160 countries. This includes approximately 15 technical service representatives working in targeted geographies. As ADM Animal Nutrition continues to develop its global business we will continue to acquire colleagues internationally.
New manufacturing facilities are also constantly being constructed around the world. Most recently, a new feed premix plant opened in Zhangzhou, South China. This plant represented the fourth in ADM Animal Nutrition's expanding animal nutrition network in China, which consists of production facilities in Dalian, Tianjin and Nanjing, and a new plant still under construction in central China.
ADM Animal Nutrition™, DHA Natur™ and Thermal Care™ are trademarks of Archer Daniels Midland Company. PROPLEX® and CitriStim® are registered trademarks of Archer Daniels Midland Company.
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