Feed prices jumped to the record high and further increase is on the horizon. There are several reasons for these circumstances. First of all it is a distinction between diminishing supplies and increasing demand. Diminishing supplies are mainly due to bad crops in many producing countries. Increasing demand is due to corn use for food and feed industries and bioethanol production. The discrepancy between supplies and demand is nor expecting to diminish in the future.
Nutrition consultants have been a fact of life in the dairy and beef feedlot sectors of animal agriculture for a long time. In those enterprises where profit margins are slim and production response to feed formulation is measurable, consultants have more than been able to justify their fees by showing increases in the milk tank or increases in amount and efficiency of gain.
Global agricultural is in turmoil. World trade barriers are coming down. The EU Common Agricultural Policy and the US supports may become a thing of the past, opening up markets and leveling the playing field. BSE cases in Canada and the US have thrown these industries into a quandary, while southeast Asia is reeling from the impact of avian flu.
Natural feed technologies such as those offered by Alltech have never been more in favor. Increasing acceptance of natural feeding strategies reflects the realization that there is no going back to previous methods in today's consumer-oriented markets. At a recent roundtable discussion sponsored by Alltech in the aquaculture sector, one attendee described the event as "the most exciting discussion in which I have participated in the past 10 years". Such is the enthusiasm in these markets. We believe that every cloud has a silver lining, but for agriculture the difficult times of these past years can only be turned around if we embrace change and recognize the three key determinants of success: Price competitiveness, Perception of the consumer, and Policies we can depend on to guide us now and in the future.