Main research question/goal
What is the feeding value of roughage and concentrates for ruminants, pigs, poultry and rabbits? Can we predict the value of feed in practice in the lab by using or developing convenient, reliable, fast and inexpensive techniques? Feed composition and quality is continuously changing as a result of plant breeding, growing, harvesting and preservation techniques, production processes, climate change, etc. New animal feeds, byproducts and feed additives are coming onto the market and knowledge about digestion physiology and feed evaluation techniques are also improving. The Flemish animal husbandry sector wants current and accurate data about the feeds available on the market.Research approach
ILVO determines the chemical composition as well as the physical characteristics of animal feeds using certified methods where possible. In addition to lab tests, ILVO researchers carry out digestion experiments with cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and rabbits according to generally accepted procedures. The obtained in vivo reference data are used to develop or validate convenient lab techniques such as chemical and physical parameters, in vitro digestibility and NIRS. ILVO closely monitors scientific literature to anticipate new developments in feed evaluation techniques.Relevance/Valorisation
The intensive animal husbandry in Flanders has to balance the need for high quality products with strict emission standards. To ensure this balance, the supply of nutrients has to meet the animal’s requirements as closely as possible. This requires rapid and accurate feed evaluation. ILVO presents these feed evaluation results at international congresses, national and local informational workshops, and publishes the results in scientific and agricultural journals. ILVO also provides services such as techniques and models to predict the feeding value for use in private laboratories and feed companies, gives information to the animal feed industry and farmers about the feeding value or the effect of new or alternative feedstuffs and additives, and provides plant breeders with new selection parameters.