It is no secret that poultry feed costs are on the rise and presenting challenges to feed formulation. One ingredient is especially expensive: phosphate.
Due to global conflict and shipping challenges, the cost of rock phosphate is rising. However, phosphate is a necessary nutrient for bird performance and for preventing skeletal developmental abnormalities, so it cannot be cut out to lower diet costs. Record-high phosphate prices can present an opportunity for innovation in poultry diets.
The need to drive down costs while still providing essential nutrients to birds has opened the door for an innovative feeding strategy: the phytase exogenous enzyme. To capitalise on this strategy and lower bird production costs, we need to understand and maximise the availability of calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) from feed ingredients. We also need to feed Ca and P closer to the requirements of today’s modern genetics for optimal performance and skeletal mineralisation.
The economic argument for feeding higher levels of phytase
The most economical dose of phytase for your flock will depend on the price of phytase, inorganic phosphate, and the digestible Ca and P released from phytase.
Considering the current economic challenges, the optimum dose is greater than 2 000 FTU. Phytase digests inositol phosphate-6 (IP6) into IP5 and IP4. These are further digested into IP3, IP2 and IP1, all of which have the propensity to bind inorganic minerals. This process also releases soluble Ca, which hampers the absorption of inorganic trace minerals further. Zinpro® Performance Minerals® are absorbed via the amino acid pathway and do not interact with dietary antagonists.
Feeding higher levels of phytase equips the bird to hydrolyse phytate at a quicker rate while having more (calcium and trace) minerals, amino acids, and energy available. Higher levels of phytase in the diet buys more space, requiring fewer, high-quality raw materials for the same level of performance. With fewer inputs for the same output, feed cost decreases.
This could suggest removing certain inorganic minerals from the premix to move towards a full replacement by Zinpro Performance Minerals.
A whole new world
The mineral requirements of the modern broiler have evolved, so re-evaluating the Ca and P levels in the diet is another key strategy to reduce the dependence on rock phosphates.
Including higher levels of phytase and optimal levels of Ca and P in the diet helps improve animal well-being. Birds have more free energy and minerals to devote to bone mineralisation and skeletal growth, so the bird can avoid lameness and exhibit better muscle development. Additionally, these new levels in the diet improve water utilisation, reduce wet litter, and support a more suitable environment for paw pad health and foot pododermatitis reductions.
This article was first published in March 2023 in the Poultry Business – Feed & Nutrition Supplement.