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Volume 13: Industry Processes and Controls
7. Animal feed manufacture
Some features of the industry
Geographical issues relating to the compound animal feed industry
United Kingdom Agricultural Supply and Trade Association (UKASTA)
Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA)
Formulation of animal feed
The reason for widespread use of MBM in cattle diets

7.4 The animal feed industry has developed since the beginning of the 20th century, initially supplying feedstuffs only for ruminants and later, as demand developed, also for pigs and poultry. 1 In the past, feedmills were usually built at the major ports or close to inland waterways. Many of the raw materials were imported, including cereals such as wheat, barley and maize, and proteins from groundnuts, linseed, cottonseed and fishmeal. Some home-produced materials were also used, generally by-products of the food industry. These included wheat feed, left over from flour manufacture; oilseed cakes and meal, from the manufacture of margarine and cooking oils; and some MBM from the rendering industry. 2 Today, a range of by-products and other raw materials are mixed together to provide a complete diet. This process is known as 'compounding', and animal feed manufacturers who do this are often called 'compounders'. 3

7.5 As can be seen from Figure 7.1, compound feed production for cattle increased between 1974 and 1983. This increase was influenced by the financial incentives for dairy farmers to produce as much milk as possible, thereby requiring large volumes of feed for their cattle. 4 However, in 1984 the European Union, under the Common Agriculture Policy, introduced milk quotas, designed to curtail over-production. Milk producers stopped feeding their cows so much compound feed, because it was no longer profitable for them to maintain the existing high levels of milk production. The number of dairy cows also fell, by 10.7 per cent between 1986 and 1990, after which there was only a slight drift downward. The total cattle population declined from an annual average of 12.9 million between 1984 and 1986 to 11.7 million in 1995. 5 The drop in demand for cattle feed was partly offset by increased demand for feed for other animals. At its lowest point, in 1991, total compound feed usage was only 4.4 per cent below its 1982-84 annual average. Since 1991 there has been a slow increase in demand. 6

Figure 7.1: Compound feedstuffs purchased in England, Scotland and Wales, 1974-94

Figure 7.1: Compound feedstuffs purchased in England, Scotland and Wales, 1974-94

Source: MAFF

7.6 The report of the Lamming Committee (the Expert Group on Animal Feedingstuffs) in 1992 summarised the structure of the feed industry in the early 1990s:

About 55% of all purchased feeds are cereals (about 40% of which are compounded) and they mainly come from UK grain merchants, traders and farms. Most of the other 45% of feeds and feed ingredients are by-products from agro-industrial operators (millers, maize processors, distillers, etc) divided between UK and imported supplies. 7

7.7 The Committee also noted that:

These materials flow to farms through a variety of channels. Two-thirds (by volume) flow through the compounders, and one third through agricultural merchants, blenders, mobile mixers or direct to farmers from retailers of straights [individual feed ingredients]. Most compounds are sold direct to farmers (70% of production), and 30% (mainly from the two largest compounders) is distributed through the agricultural merchant trade. 8

7.8 In 1986, there were 374 feed companies, compared with 407 in 1979. The compound animal feed industry comprised three different types of firm. Five companies - BOCM Silcock, Dalgety Agriculture, J Bibby Agriculture, Nitrovit and Pauls Agriculture - owned mills throughout the country and controlled 54 per cent of the market. They had vertical links to other agricultural activities such as agricultural merchanting and livestock production. They were referred to as the 'nationals'. The balance of the market consisted of compounders owned by farmer cooperatives, which had between 9 and 10 per cent of market share, and a number of independent or 'country' compounders, serving regional or local markets. 9

7.9 The Lamming Committee noted that an increasing proportion of livestock was being fed with feed that was mixed on farm. Instead of purchasing compound feed, farmers could buy individual ingredients from feed manufacturers and other sources, or produce them on the farm, and mix their own feed. The individual ingredients were known as 'straights'. Farmers could seek advice on feed formulae from manufacturers, MAFF's Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS), and universities. On-farm mixing is considered in more detail in vol. 12: Livestock Farming.

7.10 The compounders' overall share of the feedstuffs market declined in the period leading up to 1986 - from 66.3 per cent in 1976 to 59.4 per cent ten years later. 10 In June 1991, the Chemical Safety of Food Division of MAFF estimated that 40 per cent of feedstuffs was produced on the farm, and that the compounders' share of market was falling as farmers increasingly turned to home-mixing. 11

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Geographical issues relating to the compound animal feed industry

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(i) Sources of MBM

7.11 As noted above in Chapter 6, renderers sold their MBM to animal feed compounders across the country, although the smaller plants generally sold within a 200-mile radius. 12

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(ii) Production of compound cattle feed by region

7.12 Figure 7.2 shows the production of compound cattle feed, broken down by region for 1987, a year before the ruminant feed ban was introduced.

Figure 7.2: Cattle feed production in the UK, by region, 1987

Figure 7.2: Cattle feed production in the UK, by region, 1987

Source: Dean Agricultural Associates

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United Kingdom Agricultural Supply and Trade Association (UKASTA)

7.13 UKASTA is the principal UK trade association representing the interests of agricultural merchants and manufacturers of animal feedstuffs. In March 1988, the number of full members of UKASTA was 318. Of these, about 100 actually manufactured feed; many others were distributors of feed materials and/or finished feedstuffs.

7.14 UKASTA's income is derived mostly from membership subscriptions. In acting as the representative body for its members, its principal activities are the collection and dissemination of relevant information, and liaison with UK and EU government agencies and others. 13

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Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA)

7.15 GAFTA is an international trading organisation representing traders of many agricultural commodities, including raw materials used in animal feedstuffs. GAFTA's role is to promote trade in the commercial interest of its members. It also kept its members advised of developments in legislative Regulations and Orders that were made in relation to BSE. One of GAFTA's services is the provision of a range of standard forms of contract which sellers and buyers may use in their trade negotiations. These contracts have common trading clauses, leaving quality provisions for individual parties to agree. 14

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Formulation of animal feed

7.16 Compound feed manufacturers produce both finished compound feeds (suitable for consumption by an animal without further processing), and protein concentrates, which are mixed and diluted with cereals on the farm before they are eaten by animals. 15

7.17 They produce compound feeds to meet specific nutritional requirements. However, market forces generally drive decisions on the raw materials to be used:

The compound feed producers will know the requirements that feed should meet in terms of energy, protein, fibre, vitamins and so on. The compounders will also have a list of different ingredients available to provide the requisite make-up of the feed. They will marry up the list of ingredients available with the feed requirements to provide the least cost formulation, that is, effectively, the cheapest combination of ingredients available on the market place for producing a feed compound capable of meeting the requirements. 16
The process of diet formulation is complex and necessitates the use of computers to run linear programming calculations. This programme matches the set constraints (specification) of the diets with all the data on all the raw materials available to produce formulations for each product sold. The linear programme would operate to optimum cost, whilst ensuring that the specification of all diets was met. 17

7.18 In 1986, a typical dairy cow compound would have been made up as follows:

Cereals and/or substitutes 40% (wheat, barley, manioc).
Cereal by-products 35% (from flour milling, starch extraction, brewing and distilling industries).
Oilseed meals 10% (usually after fat extraction, mainly rapeseed but could be others such as soya, sunflower, etc).
High-protein supplement 3 to 5% (MBM or fishmeal).
Oils or fats 3 to 4% (vegetable and animal).
Molasses 3 to 4%.
Minerals and vitamins 2 to 3%. 18

7.19 Sometimes more unusual ingredients were used. A series of articles appearing in 1991 described ingredients ranging from dried citrus fruit pulp to dried coffee residues, and including nutritionally improved straw and feather meal. 19

7.20 New ingredients in a compound feed were tested, both in the laboratory and on animals, to check for palatability and toxicity. 20 However, MBM was considered a safe material that did not need testing. Its quality was regarded as the responsibility of the renderers. 21 The issue of whether MBM used in animal feed was homogeneous in terms of its ingredients, or instead might have contained concentrated lumps of one ingredient, is discussed in Chapter 6, on rendering. That chapter also notes that renderers were divided between those that rendered red meat by-products of all kinds (producing MBM), and those that rendered poultry by-products (producing poultry meal). MBM could be derived from the by-products of cattle, sheep or pigs (or all of them together), and animal feed manufacturers were not told which were used. Poultry meal was sometimes used in feed production, but MBM was cheaper and thus usually preferred. 22

7.21 In addition, tallow from the rendering process was used in feeds for all animals. 23 It was suggested that tallow was also used as a fat supplement in milk fed to calves. 24

7.22 It was common for products containing gelatine to be incorporated in animal feed (for information on the production of gelatine from bovine material, see Chapter 8). Representatives of the animal feed industry said in oral evidence:

The animal feed industry has long used by-products from the human food industry; and it is entirely possible that some of those by-products from the human food industry would contain gelatine. 25
There could be 2.5 per cent gelatine in some of the human food by-products. So, whilst the source from vitamins would be extremely low, if you were using that particular by-product, there could be that quantity or a quantity of gelatine which may or may not have been detected; we do not know. 26
Every compound feed that contains vitamin supplement would contain gelatine; but we are talking about fractions of a milligram from the vitamins side. 27

7.23 There were statutory limits on the amounts of certain potentially harmful ingredients, such as arsenic, fluorine, lead and mercury, which could be included in animal feed. 28 Volume 14: Responsibilities for Human and Animal Health describes more fully the statutory controls on feed ingredients and contaminants.

7.24 Protein concentrates are produced by compound manufacturers in a similar way to compound feeds, generally in the form of protein pellets designed to be mixed with cereals, such as barley, by the farmer. 29

7.25 They were a mixture of various high protein materials, including MBM. Indeed, MBM might make up as much as 25 per cent of the concentrates, 30 which were accompanied by 'detailed written instructions as to how they should be mixed with on-farm material or other materials'. 31 When mixed correctly with cereals, the MBM content should not have exceeded 5 per cent of the finished feed. 32 Vol. 12: Livestock Farming gives a fuller description of the feed practices for cattle and on-farm mixing.

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The reason for widespread use of MBM in cattle diets

7.26 The need for protein supplements for cows has been well known for a long time. The earliest references to the use of animal by-products as a protein source in animal feed go back to the 19th century; Liebig recommended their use in pig feed in 1865. 33 In 1908 a book by Kellner on the scientific feeding of animals described an early form of industrial rendering to produce a type of MBM. 34

7.27 In the UK, the use of MBM in ruminant nutrition was well established by the 1920s. 35 MBM was mentioned as a feedstuff in the Fertiliser and Feedingstuffs Act 1926. In the US in 1928, Morrison described the production of MBM and stated that, although this was normally fed to pigs and poultry, when mixed with other feeds it could also be fed to horses, cattle and sheep. 36 During the 1930s and 1940s there were a number of references in scientific literature to the commercial use of rendered meat by-products, for example: as alternative protein for calves in New Zealand; as a supplement to grass for sheep in Australia; and in various experiments on dairy cows, to assess the effect of protein intake and quality on milk production. 37

7.28 During the Second World War, Regulations set out minimum and/or maximum proportions of ingredients to be used in feed in the UK. For example,in 1941 the inclusion of a minimum of 2.5 per cent meat meal or MBM was prescribed, 38 which was later increased for young stock to 5 per cent. 39

7.29 Use of MBM as an ingredient of cattle feed continued to grow post-war after ruminant nutritionists identified that cattle digested some proteins (including those in MBM) more efficiently than they did others. In 1980, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) published The Nutrient Requirements of Ruminant Livestock. This publication defined two types of protein: undegraded (by the rumen) protein (UDP) and rumen degradable protein (RDP). RDP is protein, such as the vegetable protein found in soyabean meal, which is degraded by micro-organisms in the rumen (the first stomach of a cow). In contrast, UDP is not degraded by micro-organisms in the rumen, but instead moves through to the abomasum (the fourth stomach) and small intestine, where it is digested (see Glossary). Examples of UDP can be found in MBM and fishmeal. Amino acids are absorbed in the small intestine, and are supplied partly from microbial protein resulting from the fermentation of RDP in the rumen, and partly from UDP which has escaped rumen fermentation. 40 Amino acids are absorbed and used by the animal for maintenance, growth and milk production. UDP therefore increases potential milk yield.

7.30 The ARC's work meant that optimum formulae for the inclusion of UDP and RDP in cattle feed could now be calculated. The emphasis on increasing milk production led to the use of MBM in place of some of the cheaper vegetable proteins, which had been the main protein source up until then. 41 From about 1982 the least cost formulation of rations manufactured for dairy cows recommended the inclusion of substantial amounts of MBM. 42

7.31 MBM was also an important source of minerals, providing much higher levels of calcium and phosphorus than other sources of protein. 43 MBM produced without solvent extraction during the rendering process also contained higher quantities of oil, an important source of energy for the animal. In short, MBM gave 'a particular package of nutrients that was useful. It was not necessarily a single issue . . . it was the total package that it provided that made it so useful in a range of feeding stuffs'. 44

7.32 With the introduction of price supports for milk and limitations on herd size under the EU Common Agricultural Policy, there was a further incentive to increase the milk yield from each cow. One of the various techniques for maximising yield was to modify the diet by increasing the amount of protein in the feed. 45 One way of doing so was to include a greater proportion of MBM in dairy feeds. 46 This proportion could not generally exceed 5 per cent of MBM in compound feed, since inclusion at a higher rate made the feed unpalatable to cattle. 47

7.33 According to Mr Alan Lawrence of MAFF, in 1988 the annual UK production of MBM was 350,000 to 400,000 tons. Most went into feed rations, of which about 90 per cent went to pigs and poultry and about 10 per cent to ruminant feed. 48

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1 S27 Cooke

2 S27 Cooke

3 'Pauls Good Feed Guide', p. 7 (M13A tab 12)

4 FEG84 - Roger W Dean, 'History lesson', from Feed Compounder, March 1991

5 Louis Barfe, ed., Animal Feedstuffs: 1997 Market Report (9th Edition), Hampton, Keynote, 1997, p. 5

6 Louis Barfe, ed., Animal Feedstuffs: 1997 Market Report (9th Edition), p. 5

7 'The Report of the Expert Group on Animal Feedingstuffs', p. 77 (IBD1 tab 11)

8 'The Report of the Expert Group on Animal Feedingstuffs', p. 77 (IBD1 tab 11)

9 Dean Agricultural Associates, Feed Industry Review: A Structural and Financial Analysis of the United Kingdom Animal Feedingstuffs Industry, HGM Publications, 1988, pp. 5-6

10 FEG76 p. 2 - 'Farmer Knowledge of Feeds and Regulations', ADAS, 1991

11 FEG76 p. 2

12 T19 pp. 60-3

13 S24 Reed paras 2.1-2.2

14 S155 Kirby-Johnson paras 2-4; T61 p. 46

15 S25 Raine

16 S47 Gill para. 16

17 S28 Sanderson para. 38

18 S37A Foxcroft para. 11

19 E J Ross, Unusual Raw Materials, agriTrade, May 1991 (M13A tab 9)

20 T17 p. 96

21 T17

22 T60 p. 70

23 UKASTA, 'Compendium of Raw Materials Used in the Feed Industry', 1996 (M13 tab 1)

24 S132 Comley p. 4; T57 p. 23

25 T61 p. 44 - Mr James Reed, Director-General of UKASTA

26 T61 p. 45 - Dr Brian Cooke of Dalgety Agriculture

27 T61 p. 45 - Dr Michael Marsden of J Bibby Agriculture

28 Feeding Stuffs Regulations 1986, Regulation 16 (L3 tab 2)

29 T17 p. 72

30 S25 Raine Table 2

31 T18 pp. 38-9

32 T18 pp. 39-40

33 S27 Cooke p. 1

34 O Kellner (1908), translated by William Goodwin of London University, and published in England in 1915 as The Scientific Feeding of Animals. Cited in S27 Cooke p. 1

35 T7 p. 46 incorporating revisions proposed in S265 Thomas PC

36 S27 Cooke p. 2

37 S27 Cooke pp. 2-3

38 Order No. 994 of 1941, amending the Compound and Mixed Feeding Stuffs (Control) (No. 2) Order 1940

39 The Feeding Stuffs (Regulation of Manufacture) (Amendment No. 10) Order 1946 (L3 tab 1B)

40 Agricultural Research Council, The Nutrient Requirements of Ruminant Livestock, Slough, Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux, 1980 (M13 tab 5)

41 T18 pp. 19-20 - Dr Martin Clark, nutritionist, Midland Shires Farmers agricultural cooperative

42 S439 Webster

43 FEG15 - 'The Rendering Industry' (Lamming Committee)

44 T17 p. 59 - Mr James Reed, Director-General of UKASTA

45 T18 p. 20

46 S31 Thompson para. 5

47 T18 p. 30

48 T97 pp. 41-2

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