ProVision: Optimizing ruminant feed protein conversion and lowering nitrogen emissions

Livestock farming of ruminants is primarily optimised for milk production and yield. Feeding technology and strategy are some of the most important factors continuously considered. At the same time, livestock farming is facing increasing restrictions penalizing nitrogen emissions. This project will develop novel feeding strategies for ruminants optimizing feed protein conversion and resulting in reduced nitrogen emissions and a more sustainable livestock value chain.

Improving protein conversion

The overarching goal of this project is to identify, develop and demonstrate methods to improve the protein conversion of ruminants and allow for lower protein intake and consequently reduced nitrogen emission by the ruminant. ProVision will investigate three novel feeding strategies. The first two will depart from a recent experimental WFBR-finding showing that several phenolic-protein combinations lowered the microbial protein degradation in the rumen. Route 1 will develop whole restructured feed ingredients by crosslinking of proteins with phenolics sourced from food processing side streams. Route 2 will develop concentrated feed additives containing phenolics ultimately utilizing the same crosslinking functionality. Route 3 will develop a strategy in which protein in the feed is replaced by specific fatty acids; a very different route but contributing to the exact same goals of increased protein conversion and nitrogen emission reduction. And again further developing recent experimental findings into a novel feed strategy.

ProVision will assess the novel feeding strategies in in vitro and in vivo trials to optimise and demonstrate the effect on the enhanced protein conversion. Sustainability (carbon and nitrogen emission) and techno-economics benefits will be assessed as part of this project. The project is likely to enhance the use of local North-European (feed) sources, further contributing to the livestock sectors sustainability, circularity, security of supply and profitability.

Looking for partners

For this initiative Wageningen Food and Biobased Research (WFBR), Wageningen Livestock Research (WLR) and Wageningen University - Animal Nutrition (WU-ANU) are inviting potential partners from the whole livestock value chain (food side stream owners, feed and feed ingredient manufacturers and wholesalers, etc.) to collaborate in this Public Private Sponsored (PPS) project. In return for their in-cash and in-kind contributions, project partners can provide direction to the research activities and will have the right to use the project results in their specific fields of use.

WUR is organising an information meeting on Monday the 20th of June from 13.00 to 16.00 h to explain and sharpen our ideas on the ProVision project together with all (potential) partners. You are welcome to join this hybrid meeting in Wageningen or via MS Teams.