Formulation challenges of organic poultry diets with readily available ingredients and limited synthetic methionine

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Abstract

SUMMARY

Organic agriculture has increased greatly over the past several years as consumer demand for these products has risen. Organic meat production, including poultry, has grown especially quickly, resulting in increasingly stringent guidelines being put in place to ensure safe, uniform, and ideal products for these consumers. Feed formulation and manufacturing for organic poultry in the United States are strictly regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Program. Currently, no synthetic amino acids are allowed to be used in organic poultry diets in the United States except for limited quantities of synthetic methionine since it is typically considered the first or second limiting amino acid in corn and soybean meal based poultry diets and it is a critical nutrient for maintaining bird growth and productive performance, especially regarding egg size in laying hens. The aim of the review herein is to discuss the impacts that current organic regulations on synthetic methionine have on diet formulation when using readily available ingredients. High levels of crude protein must be used to meet bird methionine requirements with this restriction in place, which both increases feed costs and can have negative impacts on bird health and on air quality and the surrounding environment due to increased ammonia emissions. Atypical feed formulation strategies have been explored to address this issue, including such methods as feeding alternative ingredients and providing forage materials. Another possibility would be to use an average lifetime maximum inclusion rate for synthetic methionine, which may allow for better flexibility to provide sufficient methionine throughout various phases of growth and production since the requirements of the bird change with age.

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