27 September 1996

Full declaration of ingredients is vital

PRESSURE on compounders to be more open about feed ingredients must be continued.

So said ruminant nutritionist Gordon Newman speaking at the Dairy Event.

He urged producers to check feed bag labels for full ingredient declaration. He said that many feed compounders had adopted a policy of on-label declaration of ingredients after producer pressure this year. But some compounders present at the event were continuing to declare ingredients by category only. And most did not extend their full ingredient declaration policy to new ranges and high performance specification diets.

"It is absolutely vital for producers to be able to declare exactly what they are feeding as the drive towards traceability and consumer assurance progresses. Broad headings cant deliver confidence," said Mr Newman. He added that cost effectiveness of some ingredients also needed to be examined.

"For example the use of protein sources high in fibre in feeds is based on their cheapness to the compounder.

"But feeding ruminants high ground fibre concentrates is not necessary when long fibre in the form of forages could be provided more cheaply by the producer.

"From a production viewpoint producers need to know increasingly what ingredients are included and what effect they have on the milk quality and yield to keep within quota and contract needs.

"Even where ingredients are declared in order of inclusion the information provided is of limited use because the balance of ingredients could vary widely," said John James senior consultant with Mole Valley Farmers. "Two rations identical on the label could have a different effect on an animal."n

Nutritionist Gordon Newman: "It is vital for producers to be able to declare exactly what they are feeding."