From December 2017 onward, including non-organic protein sources in diets for organic poultry will no longer be allowed in the EU. Moreover, in the EU the use of synthetic amino acids in organic diets is prohibited. The main dietary challenge in European organic egg production is to fulfill the protein requirement, especially the methionine (Met) requirement of the hens. Currently available Met-rich ingredients are discussed. In the group of ingredients of plant origin, expelled sunflower seed has a relatively high digestible Met content and is also commonly available. Met content of plant ingredients can be increased by selection of high Met varieties and by specifically breeding on high Met content, e.g. by crossing different breeds. Plant processing techniques might be helpful to concentrate the protein and digestible Met content of ingredients. Applying the dry fractionation technique on legumes and cereals might result in protein concentrates with CP content of at least 50%. A further development of simple separation techniques, which separate the hulls from the other plant fractions and reduce the fiber content after de-hulling, might be helpful to increase digestible Met content. Energy dilution of the diet, concomitant with a proportional reduction in other nutrients, is an option as well to fulfill the requirement of 100% organic diets. As a consequence, hens have to consume more feed to meet their nutrient requirements. There are options to fulfill the requirement of 100% ingredients of organic origin, but if the practical, economical, and footprint issues are taken into account, the list of options is very small.
- EU requirements
- laying hens