July 12, 2019



By: Ronald Trotta

The ASAS-NANP Symposium II: Ruminant/Nonruminant Feed Composition began with introductions from Dr. Phillip Miller. Dr. Andres Schlageter, a post-doctoral research associate from the University of Nebraska, was the first speaker of the symposium. The National Animal Nutrition Program (NANP) serves as a forum to identify high-priority animal nutrition issues and provides an integrated and systemic approach to sharing, collecting, assembling, synthesizing, and disseminating science-based information, educational tools, and enabling technologies on animal nutrition that facilitate high-priority research among agricultural species. NANP generates feed composition tables for the NASEM that produces the nutrient requirements of livestock species books including the Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle in 2016 and upcoming nutrient requirement books for dairy cattle and poultry. The NANP supports national conferences in the American Society of Animal Science by hosting workshops and symposiums at national and sectional meetings.

The second speaker was Dr. William Weiss, professor at The Ohio State University. Dr. Weiss spoke about the importance of screening procedures for the large dataset used to generate feed composition tables for the NRC. The screening procedure involves pre-screening, univariate analysis, PCA, clustering analysis, cluster evaluation, and data summarization. Large data sets can have contamination that may affect the standard deviation and covariance. Dr. Weiss explained that the Journal of Dairy Science paper of Yoder et al., 2014 contains a descriptive and useful method for the screening of feeds. In this method, many steps can be automated but still require substantial time to complete and expert evaluation. Approximately 50% of the raw data was removed in the screening. Screened data should provide more accurate estimates of variation and covariation.


The third speaker was Dr. Elizabeth Koutsos, President at EnviroFlight, who talked about novel feed ingredients in animal nutrition. Specifically, insect-derived, algae-derived, plant-derived, and single cell proteins were the categories of novel ingredients that were discussed. Dr. Koutsos discussed how these novel feed ingredients could be applied to animal feeding industries. Variability in production and processing can have impacts on final composition. There is a lack of information on the digestibility of these feed ingredients, which will be necessary to evaluate nutrient utilization. Dr. Koutsos spoke about practical challenges and concerns for both the animal feeding industry and animal health. There is tremendous interest in the development and evaluation of novel feed ingredients and more information is needed on the sustainability and economics of these feed sources. Various components such as fiber fractions, carotenoid pigments, nucleotides, and mycotoxins must be considered.


The final speaker of the symposium was Dr. George Fahey, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois. Dr. Fahey spoke about challenges and potential solutions to the optimal use of fiber across animal species. In nutrition, fiber is perhaps the most challenging food component to define and quantify. However, Dr. Fahey explained that fiber has moved from a “forgotten” or ignored status to focus of attention by scientists, consumers, regulators, and marketers in the last 50 years. There are unique challenges and opportunities as regards to dietary fiber utilization within animal species. Dietary fiber is important for the gut microbiome and there are many functional roles of fiber in the body. Much remains to be done to understand the roles of specific fiber components as they relate to function in the body.