Feed Formulation: How to Reduce Feed Costs With Alternative Ingredients

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Livestock farming is an age-old practice that remains essential in our modern agricultural industry. However, just like any other business, the ultimate goal is to maximize profits. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to reduce feed costs, which is a significant aspect of the cost of production.

Feed formulation can be quite expensive due to the volatility of key feed ingredient prices, such as Maize, Soybean, Wheat, and other ingredients that livestock share with humans. However, livestock farmers can reduce their feed costs by utilizing alternative ingredients.

As presented by Afrimash Livestock Fulfillment Officer Adeoluwa Amoo during the webinar on the 17th of March 2023, we will explore in this article the key considerations that farmers need to bear in mind when exploring these alternatives to reduce feed costs which are Nutrient Digestibility and Availability how digestion enhancers can help improve this.

Alternative Ingredients for Feed Formulation

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As mentioned earlier, one of the most effective ways to reduce feed costs is to explore alternatives that can reduce feed costs without compromising the nutritional requirements of your livestock. While corn, wheat, and soybean meal are the main ingredients in livestock feed formulation, other ingredients, such as Sorghum, Barley, and Cassava, can be substituted.

By replacing a percentage of the main ingredients with cheaper alternatives, farmers can significantly reduce their feed costs. However, it is important to note that the presence of Anti-Nutritional factors (ANFs) in these ingredients can reduce their nutrient utilization efficiency. Therefore, farmers need to consider nutrient digestibility/availability of ingredients used as alternatives and how to use feed additives to improve the utilization efficiency and palatability of such ingredients.

Nutrient Digestibility and Availability of Alternative Feed Ingredients

Nutrient digestibility and availability refer to the extent to which the animal can digest and absorb the nutrients within the feedstuff. The livestock digestive system helps convert the food they eat into the nutrients its body needs for growth, maintenance, and production (e.g. egg production in poultry). Many livestock breaks down food with chemical and mechanical action(chewing). However, because birds do not have teeth, they rely on digestive enzymes and fluids released from various parts of their digestive system. After being released from food during digestion, nutrients are absorbed and distributed throughout the body.

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The Digestive System of Poultry

The digestibility and availability of nutrients in feed are critical factors to consider when choosing alternative ingredients. Some ingredients may contain a significant amount of nutrients, but they may not be available to the animal for growth or productive purposes. This is where digestion enhancers come in handy.

Digestion Enhancers and Alternative Feed Ingredients

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Digestion enhancers are feed additives that improve the digestibility of certain nutrients in alternative raw materials. These additives include enzymes and phytogenic compounds that aid in breaking down the feed and improving nutrient utilization efficiency. By incorporating digestion enhancers into livestock feed formulation, farmers can improve the efficiency of nutrient utilization and reduce feed costs. This is especially important when using alternative ingredients, which may have lower nutrient utilization efficiency than the main ingredients.

When wheat is used instead of maize in poultry feed formulation, it provides nutrients but can’t be utilized fully, leading to increased waste. Enzymes are what help to increase the efficiency and palatability of the ingredients. The purpose is not to do without maize in feed formulation but to reduce its percentage and increase the proportion of cheaper alternatives.

At Afrimash, we have some  Digestion enhancers/ enzymes that can reduce the feed cost, increase nutrient availability, and improve feed digestibility with fewer litter problems. These enzymes are added according to the percentage of these alternatives added to the feed.


Reducing feed costs is critical to the success of any livestock farming operation. By choosing alternative ingredients and using digestion enhancers, livestock farmers can reduce their cost of production. You can do this while still maintaining optimal animal performance. When choosing alternative ingredients, it is important to consider factors such as nutrient digestibility and availability, anti-nutritional factors, and the cost of raw materials. By using digestion enhancers such as enzymes, phytogenic compounds, and organic acids, livestock farmers can further optimize their feed formulations and reduce their cost of production.



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