24 May 2002

Fishmeal ban domino effect

A NEW survey shows the ban on use of fishmeal in ruminant rations has reduced its inclusion in pig and poultry rations by 10.

This is reducing options at a time when producers are considering alternatives to growth promoters, said independent nutritionist Janice Harland, at the Pig and Poultry Fair. "EU legislation means growth promoters are to be phased out by 2006 in animal feed."

One alternative is fishmeal, offering highly digestible protein rich in essential amino acids and oil, shown to reduce piglet mortality and enhance the immune system of young pigs. This is why more than 90% of respondents feel that fishmeal is an essential ingredient in pig diets, she said.

But the ban requires segregation of fishmeal in feed mills, which some cannot achieve and is the main reason for its reduced use. One solution for mills is to have it supplied in bags, but this is more expensive and adds to labour costs.

She also highlights that although alternatives are available, respondents felt they either did not provide the same benefits or were uneconomic. "In addition, use of soya as the main alternative protein is limited by its anti-nutritive properties."

The main losers are pig and poultry units supplied by small on-farm mixers supplying feed for both ruminants and non-ruminants, as fishmeal is banned from ruminant diets, she adds. &#42