Insect-based feeds already enjoy a very good reputation worldwide and are increasingly used as animal feed. This is due on the one hand to the high protein content, and on the other to the efficient, sustainable production possibilities to meet the increasing demand. Moreover, the antioxidant and good taste qualities of the feeds have been shown to promote animal health and welfare.
Proven animal feeding systems from established manufacturers are increasingly being used in the production of these new animal proteins. For example, Lower Saxony based pig feeding specialist WEDA Dammann & Westerkamp has already set up production plants for insect larvae both in and outside Germany.
“Our expertise from the automated liquid feeding systems for pig production is particularly useful in such projects,” Weda product manager Jens Feldhaus said.
One insect species that is already successfully fed in Weda systems is the black soldier fly. The larva of the fly, which can be up to 17mm long, can utilise almost all organic residues. Depending on the feed composition, larvae with a protein content of up to 55 per cent are produed. The rearing stations, where the easy-care fly lays its eggs in a honeycomb structure, must be properly moistened, illuminated and heated to 30C. The young larvae are then placed on metered-out substrate slurry. The fattened adult maggots are harvested for feed production. A part of the larval harvest is allowed to pupate to produce the next generation of insects.
Weda’s modular feeding technologies can be quickly and easily integrated into insect feeding systems. Their users have the same requirement profile as pig farmers: they attach importance to production reliability, feeding accuracy and hygiene – with simple operation and low costs. Thus, in the breeding facilities, the most important thing is the right substrate mix, its smooth delivery, as well as its efficient milling and cleaning.
With the Weda liquid feeding system, very different raw material components can be metered out in the desired quantity and transported smoothly across long distances. The storage of the correct feed recipes and the control is carried out via the Weda-Excellent 4PX computer. To ensure that the consistency of the substrate mix remains constant, even in complex pipe systems, Weda’s patented MixPipe spiral profile is used on the inner wall of the feed pipes. The feed mixture is pumped through the pipe in a rotary motion to reach the metering station. There, the substrate mix is dosed out in a monitored manner.
Insect-based feeds are already approved for the pet food sector, as well as for aquaculture. Since the integration of the innovative Weda technologies into insect feeding systems is uncomplicated, insect-based feeds could also be quickly used at any time for feeding farm animals. In this way, insects could become an effective and environmentally friendly on-site protein source for animal feeding in the future. WEDA Dammann & Westerkamp will continue to develop its innovative solutions together with the operators of the plants and steadily expand this market segment.
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