Innovation to drive sustainable beef production
Around 150 international experts and professionals of the beef cattle industry gathered at INRA, in Clermont Ferrand (France), end of September, for a seminar dedicated to international beef production, with a focus on welfare and digestive comfort. This seminar was jointly organized by Lallemand Animal Nutrition and INRA, the French Institute for Agronomic Research. Combining scientific with technical presentations and workshops, this event was a great platform for exchange of experiences and to get a snapshot of the latest research in terms of beef welfare and digestive comfort, and combined scientific with technical presentations and workshops.
Beef welfare is compatible with high performances
The first session of the seminar aimed at brushing a picture of the global beef production market, in order to identify its challenges and perspectives. Pedro B. Arcuri, from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, EMBRAPA, based at FAO in Rome, kicked off the session with an overview of the international beef market, followed by testimonials from the US and Argentina beef production approaches. The speakers agreed that in order to address the various issues of modern beef production and prepare for the challenge of 2050, the market needs to innovate, and that science and technology must serve sustainability for optimal beef production.
Welfare in beef production: a concern for all the feed and food chain
A second session focused more precisely on welfare and digestive comfort in beef cattle. The aim of this session, featuring international animal behavior and welfare experts from INRA, was to better understand factors affecting animal well-being, from the farm to the slaughterhouse, why it is important to consider animal welfare and how to assess it. By looking more closely at the link between digestive tract and the brain, the implication of nutrition and digestive microflora to address welfare issues was considered. This was well summarized by Dr Leterrier, from INRA who suggested that: “in animal production, the gut microbiota appears to be considered not only for its role in feed efficiency and disease, but should also be considered for its potential role in animal welfare.”
Left to right: P. Arcun (EMBRAPA-FAO, Brazil), K. Barling (Lallemand Animal Nutrition USA), D. Rearte (Labintex, Argentina)
From left to right: Trevor DeVries (Guelph University, Canada), Alain Boissy, Christine Leterrier, Claudia Terlow (INRA, France)
Innovative solutions for optimal beef production
The last part of the seminar was dedicated to practical solutions to help optimizing beef performance and welfare issues, in particular through nutrition, especially with the use of specific live yeast and bacteria .A presentation from Lallemand Animal Nutrition silage microbiology expert Pascal Drouin demonstrated the impact of good silage management on animals. Enlightening presentations from Dr Maria Devant (IRTA, Spain) and Dr Trevor DeVries (Guelph University, Canada), showed the relationship between digestive tract and animal welfare and the importance of beef cattle feeding behavior, with important impact on health and performance. The two researchers also gave some practical measures to modulate these key components of animal wellbeing. This is proving the importance of looking beyond feed efficiency in cattle management and demonstrating once again the pivotal role of animal welfare. One of the solutions evoked during this session was the use of probiotic. Benefits of live yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I1077 to optimize digestive comfort in beef, with consequences on feeding behavior and welfare, was demonstrated by different speakers and the live yeast modes of action were clearly explained by Dr Chaucheyras Durand.
Finally, the day was completed by a series of workshopd organized by researchers and technical staff from INRA and Lallemand Animal Nutrition, which presented an overview of current research and some herd management practical tools. This joint event was much appreciated by its participants from both industry and academics and marks a great step in Lallemand Animal Nutrition INRA longterm partnership, while giving food for thought to beef cattle experts!