4 Good Reasons to Include Soy in Diet Formulation for Young Animals

By Nicolas Anglade - Category Manager Ruminant at Hamlet Protein

Soy protein is unquestionably the number one source of protein used by the feed industry. Its great market availability and its high level of concentration makes soy and its derivatives a must for feed formulators around the globe. Despite the many benefits of soy, there are still some obstacles, especially when it comes to feeding very young animals or when looking at its potential carbon footprint.

With a focus on sustainability, here are the top four reasons to incorporate Hamlet Protein’s specialty soy-based specialty ingredients into feed formulations for young pigs, calves, and young birds.

1. Sustainable Sourcing

Choosing soy as a source of protein is a responsible and sustainable choice. Favoring a protein of plant origin in animal feed has many advantages: less land requirements to produce the equivalent amount of animal protein while emitting fewer greenhouse gases and allowing proteins of animal origin (dairy, fish…) to be reserved for human health and consumption. When talking about soy protein specifically, soy has one of the highest protein contents and all essential amino acids that are required by young animals. On top of this, soybeans are part of the legume family and through their unique root system can absorb nitrogen gas (N2), meaning that the plants can utilize atmospheric nitrogen to make proteins. The ability of soy to fix nitrogen provides additional benefits to sustainability as there is less need for nitrogen fertilizers and a reduced risk of excess nutrients leaching into soil and water.

Based on these advantages, soy has a particularly low carbon footprint when it is produced responsibly without deforestation. Soy production that includes deforestation or unsuitable land use results in a carbon footprint that is tremendously increased. Hamlet Protein is a member of the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) which promotes the growth of sustainable soy and includes zero deforestation as a requirement for certification. It also includes good practices to reach consensus on the key economic, social, and environmental impacts of soy including production, trade and use. At Hamlet Protein, we provide an option for products made from genetically modified (GM) soybeans to be RTRS-certified, guaranteeing responsible production without deforestation. On the other hand, non-GM products can be ProTerra certified, promising non-GM products that are both traceable and deforestation-free.

2. Patented Production Process Leads to Superior Product

Antinutritional factors (ANFs) naturally found in soy-based feed ingredients can pose a challenge for nutritionist when formulating diets containing soy for young animals. While soy contains ANFs, it also contains all the essential amino acids required to support health and performance in young livestock. At Hamlet Protein, our patented production process removes ANFs, leaving behind soy-based feed ingredients that are rich in protein or high-quality fiber, supporting the initial growth phase in young animals.

Alongside the improvements to feed ingredient efficiency when investing in Hamlet Protein products, our use of innovative production technologies further contributes to sustainability initiatives. The technologies used in our patented bioconversion process allow the potential for less water and energy inputs while also minimizing residual waste through use of nearly all raw materials. Our Denmark production plant for example includes a heat pumping facility which harnesses excess heat that is produced during soybean processing and uses it to warm more than 3,000 local homes, helping to reduce the equivalent energy and corresponding carbon footprint.

3. Improved Gut Health for better young animal welfare

Choosing Hamlet Protein’s soy-based ingredients in young animal diets can enhance life-long animal health and performance. The removal of ANFs via our patented production process leads to the establishment of a healthy gut in young animals, right from the start. Removal of ANFs leads to decreased risk of digestive upset and can contribute to optimal nutrient absorption. Contribution to a healthy gut can lead to improvements in overall animal status, lessening the amount of energy from feed going towards an immune response rather than into growth. The benefits of improved gut health support the idea that feeding with high quality ingredients contributes to animal welfare, a fundamental pillar of any sustainable production.

4. Doing more with less

Sustainability is a complex and multifactorial subject when applied to a particular activity, and among them animal nutrition. However, a simple formula sums up sustainability well: “doing more with less”. This is what soy does, a plant of the legume family, which synthesizes its own proteins by being able to grow without nitrogen fertilization. Doing more with less also means encouraging good soybean production practices by favoring its sourcing in historically dedicated regions and without resorting to new areas reclaimed from natural areas. Doing more with less means finally adopting precision feed for farm animals that provides the right dose of nutrients in the right form and in the right place. Hamlet Protein products have been developed to both provide the essential ingredients for initial growth but also to contribute to gut health and more generally to the well-being of young animals. By providing more digestible proteins with a reduced ANF content, we are bringing our humble contribution to driving the diet of young animals more sustainable.

Events with Hamlet Protein

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We also sponsor conferences with focus on young animal nutrition.

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Providing the right nutrition in the first life stage determines the overall lifetime performance of the animal. Our soy-based specialty ingredients improve health, welfare and performance of young animals. That is how we deliver a strong return on investment to producers around the world.