‘Car­niv­o­rous in­sects can con­sume such waste in a few days, [and] leave no con­tam­i­na­tion …’

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Weekly News Wrap -

– Se­nior lec­turer in the Depart­ment of An­i­mal Sciences at Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity, Dr El­sje Pi­eterse, ex­plain­ing how in­sects can be used for mul­ti­ple ap­pli­ca­tions in the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try

In­sects can be used for mul­ti­ple ap­pli­ca­tions in the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try, as well as other in­dus­tries, ac­cord­ing to Dr El­sje Pi­eterse, se­nior lec­turer in the Depart­ment of An­i­mal Sciences at Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity.

Speak­ing at the re­cent An­i­mal Feed Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion sym­po­sium in Pre­to­ria, Pi­eterse, who runs tri­als on in­sect pro­duc­tion for use in an­i­mal feed ap­pli­ca­tions, said in­sects could be fed both ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ waste when bred, be­fore be­ing pro­cessed into an­i­mal feed.

In­sects could also play a role in re­duc­ing waste in the agri­cul­tural value chain.

In­sects such as palm wee­vils, meal­worms, crick­ets and lo­custs could be used to con­sume brewer’s yeast in a brew­ing busi­ness, for ex­am­ple, or food waste in a ho­tel busi­ness. To en­sure that breed­ing in­sects’ re­pro­duc­tion was syn­chro­nised, they were fed for­mu­lated feeds, while those pro­cessed into an­i­mal feed re­ceived waste prod­ucts for con­sump­tion. In this way in­sect farm­ers could max­imise out­puts and cre­ate a ho­moge­nous sys­tem.

Ac­cord­ing to Pi­eterse, the waste stream that was of most con­cern to the in­dus­try was that pro­duced by abat­toirs.

“Abat­toir waste is buried and waste leaches into the ground and sur­face wa­ter. It takes months to break down. Car­niv­o­rous in­sects can con­sume such waste in a few days, leave no con­tam­i­na­tion and re­duce the chances of dis­ease,” she said.

Pi­eterse stressed, how­ever, that when it came to breed­ing in­sects, there were the same risks as in live­stock breed­ing, and strin­gent guide­lines were needed for clean­ing and pro­cess­ing.

The tri­als had shown that us­ing these in­sects as chicken feed com­pared well to the use of tra­di­tional ra­tions. “Tri­als showed an in­crease in broiler meat qual­ity, with meat hav­ing bet­ter mois­ture-hold­ing ca­pac­ity. Eggs show bet­ter shell qual­ity,” Pi­eterse said.

In­ter­na­tional tri­als on pro­cess­ing in­sects into pig feed also in­di­cated that it was palat­able to pigs and that their im­mune sys­tems im­proved when com­pared with be­ing fed tra­di­tional feed mix­tures.

She added that there was great po­ten­tial for the pro­duc­tion of in­sects as a source of pro­tein.

“For ex­am­ple, one can pro­duce 37 000t/ha of in­sects for feed, com­pared with 5t/ha of soya,” Pi­eterse said. – Ger­hard Uys

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