Animal feed re-think needed says Soil Association
A debate is urgently needed on how farmers can move away from feeding animals grains and imported proteins and use more sustainable alternatives, the Soil Association has said.
The aims of its latest report, ‘Feeding the animals that feed us’, is to kick-start a discussion about the necessary improvements it feels are necessary for the way livestock in the UK is fed.
The organic body believes that farm animals can play an important role in tackling environmental challenges by helping to store carbon in grassland soils, recycling waste food, providing nutrients to grow crops and giving humans healthy food to eat.
It added that more grains and imported proteins, such as soya, are a highly inefficient use of resources and that the dependence on grain and soya imported from across the globe makes the UK’s food system much less resilient.
Instead, a system of increased grazing and use of home-grown feed is proposed.
A Soil Association spokesperson said: “Organic farmers have a head-start in meeting the feed challenge. They are less reliant on grain, do not use soya from recently converted forest or grassland, and use more grass and silage to feed animals. But there are still improvements that can be made to organic production in the UK, with the intention of producing further environmental and animal welfare-friendly outcomes.”
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