How organic feed is delivering tangible benefits to the health of animals, according to Uncle Tedís Organicís Ted Dickin.
NGA. What are the advantages of using organic as opposed to conventional feed?
Ted Dickin. On both sides of the Atlantic, consumers have had just cause to worry about the provenance and security of food. Fifty years ago we knew where each item in the shopping basket came from. Today, this can be a convoluted chain. Repeatedly in the past, feedstuff for farm animals has been the cause of a food safety issue, impacting on the human food chain.
In the UK, BSE in bovine rations and in Europe dioxins in a range of feeds were catastrophic examples. We now have the turmoil, in Europe, created by the development of GM crops. In the vacuum created by so many Food scares, organic has become the 'safe haven' for concerned consumers. The debate about organic being safer and better for you will go on. Organic does give people 'peace of mind' and has led the thinking in society that human well being depends on the care we also take of animals, crops and the environment.
NGA. What are the financial benefits of using organic feed - particularly given the rise in cost of conventional feed?
TD. The first thing here is to think in terms of performance, health and yield. If I could take the example of this it would be Herban, the digestive enhancer. Two groups each of 4000 young turkeys. At the 13 week stage, the trial group produced a 55 percent reduction in mortality and a 15 percent gain in growth. Clearly there is a big financial gain and there are many other examples. Organic feed is part of the whole husbandry system, reflecting greater care of livestock, stocking density, natural behaviour etc. It is part of an on going developing trend in the human food chain that cannot be ignored. This is the real benefit.
NGA. What particular benefits do Uncle Ted's Organic products offer?
TD. I became interested in animal health many years ago, particularly looking for key metabolic indicators in carcase components, such as vitamin and mineral status. Poultry became one of the key farm areas and my early work was supported by on-farm trials and millions of chick samples. I doubt if a large multinational corporation would have embarked on such a long and costly process. The UTO products such as Orgamin (a trace element supplement) and Herban , as I mentioned earlier, offer years of trial data in improving poultry health and performance, using natural products, with the secure knowledge that they do work and do not compromisethe human food chain.
NGA. How quickly do farmers see the benefits of using Uncle Ted's
Organic Orgamin feed?
Orgamin, a mineral trace element supplement, which replaces meat and bonemeal is now a base ingredient in 75 percent of UK broiler breeder diets. It has an immediate impact on improving feed conversion rate and reducing mortality (typically from 5.35 to 3.7 percent). Hens produce an extra 8.6 percent viable chicks with a profit improvement of 18.4 percent. The data is supported by results from over 7.5 million chicks.
NGA. Do you plan to increase your product range in the coming year?
TD. Very much so. With significant ranges planned, which have both
environmental and commercial benefits. The most imminent of these are in the energy saving area. Firstly an additive for diesel systems, which when used in freight vehicles, for example, improves mileage by 15-25 percent and significantly reduces greenhouse gases in exhaust emissions. The trial data emission figures are impressive, with NOx, SOx and CO up to 60 percent reduced. The introduction of nanotechnology coating applications is also imminent. Cryogenic loss has been reduced in an ice rink in Amsterdam by 25 percent, using silver nano-coating. Cold storage can be insulated and roofs sealed to bounce off sunlight and reduce the global warming impact of CO2 pollution. Apart from animal health, and energy management, we are active in plant health and environmental hygiene systems.