Sustainable food for farmed animals aims at providing them with nutrients via raw vegetable matter that represents part of a whole ration. Satisfying their nutrient requirements in terms of maintenance, growth, reproduction and productions, protecting their health and their specific comportments while respecting as well a sustainable development of livestock production systems is therefore the purpose of sustainable food for farmed animals.
It ought to encourage ecofriendly ways of production, transformation and raw vegetable matter conservation. It means for example limiting water consumption, input use, greenhouse gas emissions, soil acidification or aquatic space eutrophication. Maximizing the value of farmed animal by-products and optimizing fertilization management are possible solutions. The raw matter used should respect the animal physiology (eg. herbivore’s fiber needs), improve health (eg. vitamins and mineral salts content), avoid toxic substances (eg. xenobiotic and mycotoxin) and contribute to the production of high quality products for the consumer (eg. omega 3 content). In socioeconomic terms, it is also essential to prioritize raw local matter that doesn’t compete with human food. That is why vegetable or agribusiness industrial by-products valuation and grassland use are attractive to reach sustainability objectives.
It equally ought to encourage animal natural feeding behaviors – such as ruminants grazing or poultry whole seed consumption – in order to respect animal welfare.
Eventually, being sustainable implies that the food for farmed animals leads to a financially viable production cost, especially by decreasing food costs and/or enhancing the valorization of these farming products.