UK - Potential benefits to the country’s meat industry to the tune of around £40 million per annum have been identified in a new report for the Royal Agricultural College by Stewart Houston, reports senior editor, Jackie Linden.
The report, A Creative Study Into the Scope for Increasing Value from Fallen Livestock and Animal By-products was presented by Stewart Houston, CBE FRAgs, at the House of Lords in London today, 12 June.
Board member of the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) and Chairman of the British Pig Executive (BPEX), Mr Houston prepared his report for the Royal Agricultural College (RAC) 100 Club. His study was sponsored by PIC and the National Fallen Stock CIC (NFSCo).
He explained that, as the Earth’s natural resources are limited and the demand for food grows, all industries – among them, the UK meat sector – need to seek better and more efficient ways of producing goods and services. It was with this in mind that NFSCo proposed the study, which was dedicated to increasing value from fallen stock and animal by-products.
Taking the broad approach, Mr Houston looked within and across livestock production sectors – poultry, pig, beef, sheep and equine – and included fallen stock collectors, renderers and by-product manufacturers. Among his key findings is that, to extract value from fallen stock and animal by-products, it is important to consider the whole chain from the farm, through collection, processing and into product quality and design. Poor management in one stage of the process can impact the success of the whole chain, he said.
While animal by-product waste from abattoirs historically incurred a disposal cost, some of the same waste material now attracts a payment from processors, such as petfood manufacturers, seeking high-quality ingredients for their own products.
Mr Houston also highlighted the potential for the use of good quality animal by-product in new and emerging markets, such as renewable energy and aquaculture feeds.
In coming to his total annual potential value of these by-products of £40 million to the UK meat industry, he estimated that livestock producers could realistically reduce costs of fallen stock disposal by as much as 25 per cent (or £10 million across all sectors) by taking further steps to reduce mortalities, as well as to boost the value from unavoidable fallen stock and animal by-products by up to a further £20 million. Mr Houston’s report identifies areas for further research and knowledge transfer to reach the total figure.
Furthermore, these improvements would be accompanied by a number of environmental and social benefits, he said.
Acknowledging the teamwork that has been the cornerstone of this study, Mr Houston thanked particularly Ian Campbell (Director of NFSCo), Stephen Woodgate (Director of FABRA), Bob Bansback (Professor at Harper Adams University College) and independent consultant, Duncan Prior.
Finally, he made a series of recommendations for action, whilst warning that progress may be slowed by the need for changes in legislation and gaining consumer confidence over certain aspects, which include the possible return of processed animal protein (PAP) to the feed of farm livestock in the European Union.
Summarising his report – the first comprehensive study into raising the value of fallen livestock and animal by-products in the UK – Mr Houston wrote: “There appears to be a real opportunity for moving things forward and making progress in a number of areas.”