The Agrifirm Innovation Center is an independent company doing research for Agrifirm Feed companies. They are a partner in the NWO-CCC CarboKinetics program. ‘You’ll understand our interest when I tell you that the 4.2 million tons of animal feed we produce contains 2.5 million tons of carbohydrates’, says Erik Bruininx.
Bruininx is research manager at the Agrifirm Innovation Center (AIC). The aims of the AIC is to optimize the nutritional content of animal feed, to produce animal feed that reduces the need for antibiotics in farm animals and to work towards personalized feeding plans for the animals. All these innovations should increase animal health and reduce the environmental impact.
‘The most common fraction of carbohydrates in our diets is starch, followed by dietary fibers’, says Bruininx, . ‘So we really like to know what happens to these fibers in the digestive track of farm animals.’ This knowledge will allow AIC to improve the composition of their animal feed, by selecting specific fiber sources to increase nutrient efficiency.
‘When nutrients are used more efficiently, it will reduce the production of manure. But we also want to produce functional feeds which increase the health of the animals, for instance by improving the immune system.’
Bruininx, who is a visiting researcher in the Animal Nutrition Group at Wageningen University, says that the CarboKinetics program offers great opportunities to gain new knowledge about both nutrient efficiency as well as functional feeds in farm animals.
As mentioned, the AIC is an independent company, although their research is fully focused on the needs of the Agrifirm Feed companies, especially Agrifirm Feed North West Europe. Agrifirm Feed is a subsidiary of Agrifirm, a cooperative in which 17,500 Dutch farmers and horticulturalists have combined their purchasing power for products like animal feed, seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. With a head office in Apeldoorn, Agrifirm has 3,400 employees and an annual turnover of € 2,5 billion.