December 6, 2022


Hamlet Protein: A different strategy for balancing crude protein in animal nutrition


An eFeedLink Exclusive

At this year's EuroTier show in Hanover, Germany, Hamlet Protein showcased its new feeding concept for zinc oxide-free weaning, which combines the company's HP300 functional feed ingredient with its functional fiber called HP FiberBoost.


HP 300 is created to achieve better performance and higher weight gain for weaning pigs. HP FiberBoost was launched last year.


The development of HP300, an enzyme-treated soybean meal —  backed by 30 years of feeding trials and field research — was not without its challenges. But "the lack of ideas is not the problem," Jessika van Leeuwen, category manager (swine) at Hamlet Protein, tells eFeedLink, noting that it "takes time and patience" to establish the company's processes and their effects.


"We have built up 30 years of experience and expertise in fine-tuning our process of treating soybean meal; and we are the only (company) that has an enzyme-treated soybean meal in the market," van Leeuwen says. "We have a mild process in which the lysine content of our protein source is not damaged. It is also very effective in reducing the anti-nutritional factors (ANFs) in the product."      


A solid process begets effective products, tackling major issues that van Leeuwen highlights. "What we are seeing is extremely low profitability as swine producers suffer from high prices of raw materials," she says, in regards to difficulties — specifically, the European Union's ban on veterinary drugs with high doses of zinc oxide, increased feed prices and the war in Ukraine — that have hit the livestock and feed markets in the past years.


Industries, including those in swine and milk productions, are now going through tough times when, previously, they "were still flourishing," she adds.


Van Leeuwen also points to consumer behaviors that have changed due to inflation in the EU.  


"Keeping up with livestock performance in a cost-effective way is a challenge everybody is facing," she remarks.      


A strategy for animal nutrition


Hamlet Protein, which focuses on soy-based specialty ingredients for livestock nutrition, proposes a different strategy to "keep CP (crude protein) levels on normal levels using a highly digestible and absorbable protein source and low in ANFs," the company explains.


"We see our strategy as a response to the ban of zinc oxide," van Leeuwen notes. "Most businesses have cut down on crude protein levels as they want to reduce the amount of crude protein going to the hindgut where it will be fermented, and that can result in diarrhea."


However, this action comes at the cost of seriously impaired performance in animals as they are fed below the required levels. Both feed conversion ratio and production costs also increase, van Leeuwen says, as more feed is needed to meet production goals.


"There is an idea that, if we reduce crude protein levels, we are also reducing nitrogen excretion (from animals)," she says. "However, you have to measure nitrogen excretion by a kilogramme of meat produced. If you need more feed to produce the same amount of meat, you are not producing much, and there is going to be more nitrogen excretion.         


"What we are proposing is to use the same levels of crude protein but doing so using a highly digestible protein source (HP300) and in combination with functional fibers that contain both soluble and insoluble fibers (HP FiberBoost) to maintain performance and resilience of the animal."


As an enzyme-treated soybean meal, Hamlet Protein's HP 300 was developed for that approach. It is low in ANFs which can have a negative impact on feed digestibility and nutrient absorption. "The lower the level of ANF, the greater the potential for fast and healthy piglet growth," the company states.


"The advantage of using enzymes is that they reduce the protein molecules in size, which increases the amount of peptides and facilitates the rapid absorption of amino acids," van Leeuwen says.


She shares that developing HP 300 has helped Hamlet Protein to "establish the tolerance levels of different anti-nutritional factors and (determine) which are the most important for pigs."


"So, we gain a lot of knowledge from our research, and we are probably the only company that dedicates so much of our resources in this field, and we are making a big difference," van Leeuwen adds.  


It would benefit pig producers to know what makes for optimum levels of crude protein in animal diets and the solutions to achieve it. Any further cut to those levels may seem like a good idea, but the consequence would be revenue loss.


"We have done several trials and found out that there was a profit loss of  €2.7 per pig when crude protein levels were reduced by 2%," van Leeuwen highlights. "We would advise producers to keep protein levels the way they were, and to look for solutions to be able to do so."


With the combination of HP300 and HP FiberBoost, Hamlet Protein has "found a very good solution" which works in that respect, she concludes.


- Terry Tan, eFeedLink

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