Rapid developments in poultry nutrition and genetics have facilitated the recent emergence of the global poultry industry by enabling farmers to grow chickens to market size quickly and efficiently. As a result, people all over the world are consuming more chicken on average than either beef or pork.
But there is just one problem…
The rising cost of feeding chickens is constraining the ability of producers to grow chickens to reach their full potential.
Feed Production Costs
Feed represents one of the largest input costs in poultry production. For most of the 2000′s, feed costs were stable at around $150 per ton, or 20% of revenue. However, from early 2007 to mid-2008, feed prices doubled to over $300 per ton, or 40% of revenue, while poultry prices rose by only 23%.
The trend was so severe that in late 2008, Pilgrim’s Pride, then the largest poultry producer in the US, posted a net loss of $802 million on sales of $2.17 billion and had to file for bankruptcy protection, largely as a result of rising feed costs.
BRI Discovers a Solution
A few years earlier, back in the lab, Dr. Jason Shih, Professor in the NC State University Department of Poultry Science and co-founder – with his son Dr. Giles Shih – of BRI, was developing a thermophillic poultry waste digester to convert poultry waste to energy as part of his research in poultry waste management. He noticed that poultry feathers that were shed in the manure disappeared in the course of operation.
Dr. Shih’s curiosity and insightfulness resulted in the identification of a novel enzyme responsible for breaking down poultry feather protein. Further research proved that the enzyme could also improve digestibility of proteins in animal feed such that the nutrients could be better absorbed by the animal.
In 2001, a unique formulation of the enzyme discovered by Dr. Shih – now called Versazyme – was tested as a feed additive for improving the growth of broilers, chickens that are bred for meat production.
The study found that broilers fed a low protein diet supplemented with the enzyme grew as large as birds fed a standard diet. After several follow-up experiments, it was concluded that adding Versazyme to a broiler’s diet could improve the body weight gain by approximately 100 grams (3.5 ounces) per chicken at the market age (42 days). Alternatively, it could allow producers to reduce dietary protein levels by about 10% without negative effects on growth.
Novus International Partners with BRI
Novus International,Inc., based in St. Louis, Missouri, is a global leader in animal nutrition and one of the largest amino acid suppliers in the world.
In the mid-2000’s, rising commodity prices were driving demand for natural feed additives that could economically promote animal growth, and Novus was continuing to broaden and diversify its product line by expanding into the specialty feed supplement market and the rapidly growing feed enzyme market.
According to internal company projections, the global market for enzymes was expected to reach $500 million by 2013. The U.S. market for feed enzymes was valued at $68 million in 2006, and was expected to reach $115 million by 2013. Most of this growth was expected to come from novel feed enzymes.
In May 2008, Novus International signed a worldwide exclusive distribution agreement with BRI and started marketing Versazyme under the Novus Cibenza DP100 brand.
Since 2008, BRI has produced and delivered several thousand tons of product through the Novus International partnership and as a result, poultry producers all over the world have experienced the improved efficiency and profitability made possible by Cibenza DP100.