Organic Feed: How Transitioning To Organic Is Benefiting The Animal And The Planet


One of the main advantages of biologicals feed is its superior nutrient composition compared to conventional feed. Biologicals feed comes from organic crops that are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Instead, organic farming utilizes natural practices like crop rotation and composting to replenish soil nutrients. The result is feed that is higher in nutrients.

Studies have found biologicals feed to contain higher levels of antioxidants like polyphenolics that are beneficial for animal and human health. Organic crops also tend to have higher mineral concentrations of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and especially iron compared to conventional crops. Higher nutrient levels in biologicals feed translates to better nutrition for animals. Additionally, the lack of synthetic inputs means biologicals feed carries no trace chemical residues that are present in conventionally grown crops.

Animal Health and Welfare with Organic Feed

When transitioning livestock to biologicals organic feed, farmers often observe noticeable improvements in animal health and welfare. Firstly, the absence of antibiotic and hormone usage in organic systems eliminates associated health risks. Studies show organic management decreases disease incidence and morbidity rates compared to conventional livestock production.

Moreover, biologicals feed contains natural nutrients that support growth of beneficial gut bacteria in animals. This strengthened gut microbiome helps optimize digestion and immunity. With biologicals feed, animals demonstrate fewer digestive issues and are better able to resist disease-causing pathogens. Overall animal stress is also reduced on organic operations since outdoors access and natural living conditions are priorities over intensive confinement. The end result for farmers is healthier, hardier animals.

Environmental Benefits of Feeding Organic

Beyond farm-level impacts, feeding organic has significant environmental benefits as well. Biologicals feed is sourced from crops grown using ecological practices that enrich soil over the long term instead of depleting it. Studies prove organic systems build up soil organic matter better than conventional, increasing soil fertility and carbon sequestration which mitigates climate change.

No synthetic fertilizers or pesticides are used in biologicals feed production either. This helps protect surrounding water sources from agricultural chemical runoff that is a major cause of water pollution. Utilizing manure and compost as nutrients on organic farms also creates less nitrogen oxide emissions compared to conventional fertilizer applications. Overall, organic livestock operations have much smaller environmental footprints.

Economic Viability of Biologicals feed

While transitioning to organic practices requires initial investment, many farmers find organic livestock production to be more profitable over the long run. Organic slaughter animals command premium  prices of 15-30% above conventional meat prices depending on the product. This price differential helps offset higher feed costs typically associated with organic systems.

Organic dairies have also seen higher milk premiums in recent years, around $3-5 above conventional milk per hundredweight. Additionally, organic farmers spending is localized since feed is grown on-farm or purchased regionally versus imported conventional grains. The local economic impact is an important sustainability consideration. Ultimately the combination of premium prices and improved animal health under organic management results in strong profit potential for livestock operations.

Inputs for Biologicals feed Production

To be certified organic, feed ingredients must come from 100% organic land that has undergone a 3-year transition period without prohibited substances. Common biologicals feeds include pasture grasses, hay, silage, legumes and small grains grown in annual crop rotations. During harvest, no synthetics are applied aside from permitted natural substances like lime or organic fertilizers.

Post-harvest, some mechanical and physical treatments are allowed such as drying or screening, but no additives, preservatives or synthetic coatings may be used. Multi-species pasture mixes optimize forage productivity and quality naturally. Legumes are incorporated into pastures and crop rotations to biologically fix nitrogen from the air and enrich soil health long-term. Compost and manure from organic livestock also provide valuable organic matter and nutrients as crops are grown. Maintaining these closed-loop, organic systems yields the highest quality feed over the years.

Transitioning to Biologicals feed Operations

Shifting a livestock operation to organic production requires a detailed transition plan. Farmers should consult their certifying agency to understand all criteria for biologicals feed sourcing and pasture/facilities management. The first step is transitioning crop and pastureland to organic certification, which takes 3 years of no prohibited substances.

Simultaneously, farmers convert their feeding program, replacing conventional grain with organic alternatives as availability increases. Recordkeeping is expanded to document all feed inputs and trace where they were grown. Livestock often produce at a smaller scale initially while reproductive performance adjusts to organic management. Temporary lower output is balanced by premium prices once certification is complete.

With diligent planning and commitment to the transition, farmers can experience the benefits of organic livestock production sooner. Strong  demand ensures a viable future for operations producing certified organic meat, milk and other products using 100% biologicals feed.

About Author – Priya Pandey

Priya Pandey is a dynamic and passionate editor with over three years of expertise in content editing and proofreading. Holding a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology, Priya has a knack for making the content engaging. Her diverse portfolio includes editing documents across different industries, including food and beverages, information and technology, healthcare, chemical and materials, etc. Priya’s meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence make her an invaluable asset in the world of content creation and refinement. LinkedIn Profile