By Sally Noll, Ph. D.
Professor
Department of Animal Science
University of Minnesota

Current breeds of commercial broiler chickens and turkeys grow very quickly. To improve early growth and immune system development, some research suggests that young poultry would develop better when fed starting diets containing highly digestible ingredients and a lower amount of anti-nutritional factors (ANF).

Most feed ingredients, while providing valuable nutrients, also contain some ANFs in varying quantities. For poultry, due to the high protein and amino acid requirements, most of that protein comes from soybean meal, which is an excellent source of amino acids, but contains large amounts of oligosaccharides that can disrupt the digestive system of young birds. Through processing technology, the oligosaccharide content can be reduced while also increasing the protein concentration of the product.

An example of such a product is NutriVance™ produced by Midwest Ag Enterprises Inc., which substantially reduces the ANF content, including oligosaccharides-raffinose, stachyose and trypsin inhibitors.

The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSRPC) funded feeding trials with market turkey toms and broiler chickens to examine potential performance improvements with the inclusion of NutriVance™ products in the starter diets of turkeys (up to 2 or 6 weeks of age) and broilers (up to 1 week of age).

Turkey starter diets included NutriVance™ at levels of 2.5 percent and 5.0 percent and 2.5 percent in broiler starter diets. In addition, products containing NutriVance™ (Neptide, with fish solubles; and Fermotide, with porcine solubles) were included at 2.5 percent in separate diet treatments. The control diet was a conventional (100 percent) soybean meal.

After the starting period, turkeys were reared to 18 weeks of age to achieve a market weight of 43 pounds, while the broilers were raised to 42 days of age, achieving a market weight of 6.4 pounds. Body weight and feed consumption measures were taken at the end of each feeding period.

Researchers used the European Efficiency Index (EEI) score to assess the combined effect of rate of gain and a feed conversion ratio. The EEI was calculated as follows: EEI= (Average daily gain x Livability proportion)/ (Feed efficiency x 10) with larger numbers indicating better performance. For the turkey trial (Figure 1), diets with NutriVance™ were no different than the control. However, NutriVance at 5.0 percent or 2.5 percent Neptide or Fermotide tended to have improved efficiency scores as compared to the control. For the broiler trial, the EEI score averaged 4.64 with a range of 4.6 to 4.7.

When feeding to 6 weeks of age, NutriVance™ at 2.5 percent resulted in the best turkey tom performance followed by Fermotide and Neptide products in comparison to the control. Feeding NutriVance™ for a shorter time period (0 to 2 wks of age) was not effective. The short time period of feeding the modified soy in the broiler diets might explain the lack of an effect for the broiler chickens.

In conclusion, the processed soy product exhibited reduced levels of anti-nutritional factors and increased protein content. Based on this research, an acceptable inclusion level of Nutrivance™ in turkey diets is 2.5 percent for up to six weeks of age.

This study was conducted at the University of Minnesota.