Feeding non-ruminants organically – new research project started

In October 2011, a new project “Improved contribution of local feed to support 100% organic feed supply to pigs and poultry” (ICOPP) started at ORC. This three year project, funded in the UK by Defra as part of the European CORE2 Eranet programme to support organic research, is led by Aarhus University in Denmark and has 13 partners across 10 EU countries. In the UK, ORC is working with FAI Farms Ltd just outside Oxford.

The aim of ICOPP is to produce economically profitable feeding strategies based on 100% organic feed across Europe, which will supply poultry and pigs the required level of nutrients throughout their lives while supporting high animal health and welfare. Current regulations permit up to 5% feed ingredients of non-organic origin within the diet and there is concern that a move to a 100% organic diet may not supply sufficient sources of certain essential amino acids.

The project aims through an innovative approach of increased knowledge of the characteristics of different local feeds and their wider impact on growth, health and welfare and environment to produce new feeding strategies which comply with the aims for high animal welfare, production economy and environmental concerns.

Across the partner countries a range of feeding experiments will be carried out with pigs (sows, piglets and finishers) and poultry (layers and broilers). These trials will include different feedstuffs, roughage, and foraging. The insight gained from these activities will be used to analyse and produce feeding strategies adapted to the differences in local feed supply, the economic impact related to different feed procurement, and variations in production structure in different countries/agroecological zones in Europe.

ORC will work on availability of feed stuffs, feed trials on pigs and poultry, assessing the value of the range for feed resources, as well as being responsible for overseeing the knowledge transfer within the project.

Dr Bruce Pearce (Senior Programme Manager) who leads the project for ORC said:
“This is an important and timely project that can inform the debate around and development of the regulation to feed 100% organic feed to pigs and poultry. It also allows us to build on our previous innovative work in the area”.

Further information on the project can be found at www.organicresearchcentre.com.



Further can be obtained from Dr Bruce Pearce or Becky Nelder.

The Organic Research Centre based at Elm Farm near Newbury is the UK’s leading independent research centre dedicated to the development of sustainable food systems based on organic/agro-ecological principles. Further information on our activities can be found on this website.

A key focus of ORC’s research is novel approaches to poultry production focusing on range management and the potential to meet nutritional requirements from the range, funded by Defra, EU and other sources including charitable donations. For further information, see our Livestock page.

Articles relating to this work have been published in our Bulletins 83, 89, 95, 96, 97 (p 8), 99 (p 13) and 100 (p 12) -archived in our Bulletin

The ICOPP project part of the framework of the 1st call on Research within Core Organic II, with funding from National Agencies. Further information on COII can be found at http://www.coreorganic2.org/.

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