Sustainability and Innovation

The increasing demand for meat, eggs and dairy products will need to be met in a sustainable way. The animal feed industry has a vital role to play in this by continuously improving the efficiency of livestock production whilst also nurturing animal health and welfare. Accordingly, sustainability is an integral part of ForFarmers’ business operations and a key element in its Horizon 2020 strategy.

Sustainability is one of ForFarmers’ 3 core values, which also include ambition and partnership. The Company is reporting according to GRI G4 (Core) Guidelines1. ForFarmers takes a total supply chain approach; from formulation and sourcing of raw materials, its own operations (manufacturing & logistics) through to livestock farming. Throughout this supply chain, ForFarmers focuses on 3 themes to improve its sustainability performance:
- Environment
- People & Society
- Animal health & Welfare


ForFarmers aims to be best in class in those areas where it has direct control and will proactively engage with partners in the supply chain in those areas where a wider coalition is needed to create impact on sustainability issues. For this approach, ForFarmers has identified six material aspects and five KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) which are referred to and explained in this Annual Report. The Company will report on its progress with respect to the KPIs. ForFarmers has adopted transparent (internal) reporting practices to benchmark its progress and performance. In addition, ForFarmers participated in the Transparency benchmark in the Netherlands again in 2016.

The connection between the six material aspects and the relating KPIs are shown below:

Theme Material Aspect KPI
Environment Limit phosphate pollution 1) % phosphate efficiency on farm in NL (dairy and swine farmers)
  Limit greenhouse gas emissions 2) GHG emissions in metric tons of CO₂ equivalent
  Minimise the use of land, water and energy 3) % sustainable soy bean meal and palm oil
People & Society Ensure safe and good working conditions 4) Number of Lost Time Incidents
  Improve feed safety 5) Total number of feed incidents of non-compliance with regulations and voluntary codes
Animal health & Welfare Improve animal health and welfare Improve animal health and welfare is deemed an integral part of Total Feed solutions for which no KPI is specifically set

Innovation and Research

Innovation and research is core to ForFarmers’ Horizon 2020 strategy and is the responsibility of the Nutrition Innovation Centre (NIC). ForFarmers provides sustainable feed and advice to farmers which will lead to healthier livestock and greater efficiency which results in better returns on farm. Improvements in sustainability and animal welfare are therefore important.

The Nutrition Innovation Centre is organised centrally and includes species specific nutritionists and innovation managers. The team members of NIC are not only responsible for ForFarmers’ research and innovation programme, but also for the technical performance of products supplied to customers. Moreover, they work closely with the species teams in each country and with ForFarmers’ strategic partners, such as with Nutreco, with whom joint innovation projects are undertaken.

The importance placed on innovation is illustrated by the fact that the NIC investigates on average over 40-50 research projects each year. In addition, ForFarmers leverages its extensive network, which includes many of Europe’s leading research institutes and Universities, to contribute to primary research and to the development of products and services used by farmers. Examples include ‘Feed4Foodure’ in the Netherlands and CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock) in the United Kingdom.

ForFarmers continually improves the performance of its products through increased feed efficiency. However, societal concerns such as animal health and welfare, the reduction in the use of medicines, the environmental impact of livestock production (e.g. in terms of nitrogen and phosphate efficiency) and the utilisation of raw materials are also important research themes.

All ForFarmers’ diets are formulated using a feed evaluation system developed in-house. This system sets out the nutritional parameters of each raw material and its availability (i.e. digestibility) for each species. It also takes into account, inter alia, the age of the animal. Feeds are produced which provide the correct level of nutrients for the growth and health of the animal. As genetics, health and management systems constantly evolve so does the feed evaluation system.


ForFarmers has a two tier governance approach to sustainability; the Sustainability Advisory Board and the Sustainability Task Force. The Sustainability Advisory

Board meets twice a year and is chaired by the CEO of ForFarmers. Its role is to provide advice on ForFarmers’ sustainability strategy and on major trends and issues that should be taken into account. The Sustainability Advisory Board is composed of three members of ForFarmers’ Executive Committee, one member of the ForFarmers Supervisory Board and six external members who are all major players in ForFarmers’ supply chain, academia and NGOs. In addition, a Sustainability Task Force, composing two members of the Executive Committee and eight senior managers, is responsible for the implementation of ForFarmers’ sustainability approach. The task force is responsible for providing information and coordinating improvement measures with respect to KPIs. The task force meets regularly throughout the year and reviews and provides updates on performance in terms of sustainability to the Executive Committee and the Supervisory Board.
In 2016, a start has been made in mapping and optimising the sustainability reporting processes, under management of the task force and with the help of external specialists.

Membership of External Charters and Industry Associations

ForFarmers is a member of RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) and RTRS (Round Table Responsible Soy). Furthermore, ForFarmers is active in a number of feed industry initiatives on environmental foot printing such as the EU Product Environmental Foot-printing pilot study (PEF) on Feed for Food Producing Animals and the Global Feed Lifecycle Analysis Institute (GFLI). ForFarmers is a Member of Sedex (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to driving improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains. In addition, ForFarmers actively participates in FEFAC (European Feed Manufacturers Association based in Brussels and representing the European feed industry) and is represented directly within FEFAC by the ForFarmers CEO who sits on the Steering Group. Moreover, a ForFarmers employee currently represents AIC in the Praesidium of FEFAC.

ForFarmers is also represented on the Board or Steering Group of the national associations in the Netherlands (Nevedi - Dutch Feed Industry Association), United Kingdom (AIC - Agricultural Industries Confederation), Germany (DVT - the Association of Feed Manufacturers) and Belgium (APFACA/BEMEFA - The Belgian Compound Feed Industry Association). Moreover, a number of ForFarmers employees hold positions on other feed industry organisations and initiatives such as SecureFeed and GMP+. All these organisations consider sustainability an important issue.

Stakeholder engagement and Identified Material Aspects

ForFarmers is part of a supply chain which puts food on people’s plates. This supply chain extends from the growing of crops for use as animal feed materials to the production of high quality food to consumers. Feed companies, such as ForFarmers, use a large quantity of scarce resources. The animal feed industry therefore has both an obligation and the possibility to play an essential role in meeting the growing demand for food. ForFarmers underpins its dedication to this cause through its mission ‘For the Future of Farming’.

ForFarmers engages continuously with its external and internal stakeholders - such as suppliers, customers, processors, retailers, academia, NGOs and employees in the four countries in which it is active - to identify key issues and subject matters. In 2015, a broad survey was conducted among ForFarmers’ external stakeholder groups (excluding consumers). This survey included a series of structured interviews and workshops and was conducted with the aid of an external consultant. In 2016 this was followed up by a short update questionnaire. The feedback from these stakeholder discussions was used to refine the themes and identified material aspects, as presented below. These were subsequently prioritised in consultation with the Sustainability Advisory Board. This led to the materiality analysis as shown below.

ForFarmers Materiality Analysis

Subsequently, ForFarmers determined the six main material aspects as follows:

  1. Environment: Limit phosphate pollution
  2. Environment: Limit greenhouse gas emissions
  3. Environment: Minimise use of land, water and energy
  4. People & Society: Ensure safe and good working conditions
  5. People & Society: Improve feed safety
  6. Animal health and Animal welfare

These topics are taken into account in identifying risks and opportunities for ForFarmers, and as such are influential with respect to the development and execution of the Horizon 2020 strategy, processes regarding innovation and new products and concepts. The materiality analysis is presented in a table following below. As stated earlier, five KPIs have been defined on the first five material aspects to monitor ForFarmers’ progress.

1. Environment: Limit phosphate pollution

Phosphate pollution has a major environmental impact and has accordingly been identified as a material issue, and subsequently phosphate efficiency has been chosen as a KPI. Phosphate leaching into surface water negatively impacts the quality of water. In the Netherlands especially, phosphate quotas have been imposed  on dairy farmers, but also on pig farmers. ForFarmers has a key role to play in helping its customers achieve the correct balance of important minerals such as phosphate. Too little will reduce animal performance; too much will mean increase emissions into the environment.

In dairy production, phosphate efficiency is influenced by the composition of the feed, the type and quantity of straights as well as the amount and the quality of home grown roughages used by the farmer. In swine and poultry, phosphate efficiency is influenced by the diet composition, both in terms of compound feeds used and straights fed. Due to the differences in digestive physiology between ruminants and pigs, the phosphate efficiency values are not directly comparable.

ForFarmers is continuously looking to improve phosphate efficiency, by matching the animal’s nutrient requirements and improving the phosphorous digestibility and use of alternative raw materials. For example, limiting the inclusion of soy in diets reduces phosphate utilisation. In swine and poultry, the use of phytases to improve phosphate utilisation is widespread. This has led to significant reductions in the inclusion levels of phosphate in feeds. In 2016, the use of the newest generation of phytases was introduced for all pig and poultry diets leading to better phosphorous availability and therefore less pollution.

ForFarmers engages in the KringloopWijzer scheme, the nutrient management system for all dairy farmers in the Netherlands to record the use of phosphate, nitrogen and carbon on farm. In addition, ForFarmers introduced the parameter ‘true phosphor’ to help farmers to measure and reduce phosphate production.

ForFarmers focuses on providing the best possible nutritional solution, which reduces the cost per kg meat/milk produced and improves the feed conversion ratio (kilo’s feed required to produce 1kg live weight gain or milk). ForFarmers is able to monitor phosphate efficiency by using data which has been collected from a sample of farms in the Netherlands.

Phosphate efficiency 2015*  
Dairy 35.2% n=2276
Swine Fattening 50.4% n=419
Sows 40.8% n=100
Swine Breeder & Feeder farms (sows and fattening) 47.2% n=106
n=number of farms included in the sample
(*)Due to timing and availability of the information, the data is always lagged by one year.


The presented percentage for phosphate efficiency in the table above indicates the degree to which phosphate consumed in the feed (and forage) is retained by the animal. The higher the percentage, the better it is for the environment. This percentage is therefore an important parameter to monitor the phosphate utilization on farm. Further improvement of these percentages will likely be incremental.

2. Environment: Limit greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)

Feeding animals causes GHG emissions. The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) has estimated that feed represents 45% of the carbon footprint of livestock products globally (FAO 2013; Reducing GHG emissions, whilst also meeting the growing demand for food, is a significant challenge for the total supply chain. It is therefore essential to be able to measure the carbon footprint in order to achieve meaningful life cycle analyses (LCAs) of food-producing animals. ForFarmers and the feed industry are actively engaged in a number of projects to come to a combination of a harmonised methodology to measure the carbon footprint and to establish a robust database which will enable comparative analyses.

Product Environmental Foot-printing Project (PEF)

The European Commission is proposing methods to measure the environmental performance of both products and organisations and is encouraging member states and the private sector to take them up. Two such methods to measure environmental performance throughout the lifecycle are: the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF). During a three year pilot study, process companies, industrial and stakeholder organisations have been invited to participate in the development of Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs). These aim at providing detailed technical guidance on how to conduct a product environmental footprint study for a specific product category. Because of the significance of feed in the LCA of animal products, the feed industry successfully applied for one of the pilot studies. ForFarmers chairs the working group (Technical Secretariat) Feed for Food producing animals of the PEF pilot. In 2016, the PEF pilot project produced a draft PEFCR which will be considered by the European Commission in 2017. ForFarmers participated in a supporting study, by measuring the environmental impact of a dairy compound feed, manufactured at the Ingelmunster plant in Belgium.
Various other initiatives are underway to be able to measure, monitor and ultimately decrease the carbon footprint in the agricultural sector.

ForFarmers and GHG Monitoring

In order to measure, monitor and manage its carbon footprint, ForFarmers has started to measure its GHG emissions per tonne feed produced and has identified this as one of its sustainability KPIs. For manufacturing and outbound logistics, primary energy usage (electricity) and logistics (fuel) is being converted into GHG emissions, expressed as Kgs CO2 equivalent per tonne of feed.

The GHG emissions relating to growing, harvesting and transport of raw materials to the mills in the Netherlands are being calculated using FeedPrint, (an LCA tool and database developed by Wageningen University, Blonk Consultants and a number of Dutch industry and Government stakeholders) using default data for raw material origin and inbound logistics. Over the coming years, ForFarmers will extend this process to other countries.

Manufacturing & (Outbound) Logistics

ForFarmers aims to reduce primary energy usage per unit of output by 10% by 2020 compared to a 2014 baseline.

In manufacturing, ForFarmers has developed an Energy Saving Matrix which sets out a list of projects in each country, targeted to improve energy efficiency. For example, a project has been initiated at the Lochem site (the Netherlands) to research the energy saving from Reverse Osmosis in the water system feeding the boiler which generates steam. In the United Kingdom, an investment in equipment which will result in a 15% energy saving is included in the design of the feed mill at Exeter.

In logistics (transport), litres of fuel per tonne feed delivered is measured and reviewed on a monthly basis. Energy efficiency is improved by effective vehicle planning, which increases utilisation. ForFarmers also continues to invest in new trucks incorporating the more efficient Euro 6 engines. Logistics Academies have been introduced throughout the business to - among other things - train drivers to improve fuel efficiency by adjusting their driving style. The performance of drivers, measured by km/litre fuel is monitored.

ForFarmers has been involved in the development of new trailers which are multifunctional (i.e. they can deliver both compound feed and raw materials so the number of empty miles travelled is reduced) and are lighter than the current ones. As a result, payload is increased by 5 -10%. The new company car policy, which was introduced at the beginning of 2016, encourages drivers to choose electric or low CO2 emissions vehicles.

Resource efficiency in livestock production

One of the aspects which ForFarmers targets with its Total Feed-approach is the optimal use of raw materials. This is good for the returns of the farmer (lower feed costs) and for the environment (less loss of minerals, reduction of emissions). ForFarmers’ specialists provide advice on correct diets and feeding regimes. They help customers improve their own efficiency through a Plan; Do; Check and Act approach, as part of the various feed concepts. With respect to emissions, ForFarmers for instance initiated a pilot project together with Friesland Campina in which the CO2 impact (carbon footprint) can be recorded with the help of a specially developed module.

Resource efficiency is at all times one of the key areas of interest of the Nutrition Innovation Centre (NIC). During 2016 projects included, inter alia, the best use of fatty acid nutrition for ruminants, and the development of new piglet feeds for animals with a high feed intake capacity, which secure a more efficient and healthy growth (enhanced welfare) of the young animals.

3. Environment: Minimise use of land, water and energy

ForFarmers wants to minimize its use of land, water and energy in all species groups.

Raw materials

ForFarmers has committed to source 100% responsible soya bean meal and palm oil by 2020. ForFarmers is a member of RTRS and RSPO.

ForFarmers has been an active participant in the development of the FEFAC soy sourcing guidelines (December 2015). The guidelines aim to facilitate the mainstream supply of responsible soy into Europe. The project was supported by IDH (Sustainable Trade Initiative) and Schuttelaar & Partners and offers participants the possibility to benchmark their own schemes against the FEFAC guidelines via the International Trade Centre (ITC). Feed business operators will define soya purchased from schemes which have successfully benchmarked against the guidelines.    
In Belgium and the Netherlands, there are cross-sector commitments to source 100% responsible soy meal from the beginning of 2015. In addition, there are a number of sector requirements for specific certification schemes; for example the Dutch dairy sector has made a commitment to RTRS via the purchase of certificates. In Belgium, concepts have been developed for the beef production, for which local raw materials are used. In Germany and the United kingdom there are no sector commitments on responsible soy. It is expected that the market will enforce changes over time.

In the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, there are sector commitments to purchase 100% responsible palm oil as of the beginning of 2015. There are currently no sector agreements on responsible palm oil in Germany or Belgium.

ForFarmers has established a Sustainable Raw Material Commitments working group which oversees and reports on ForFarmers’ progress on responsible soya bean meal and palm oil. Progress is monitored by the Sustainability Task Force and the Executive Committee on a regular basis.

ForFarmers has chosen % sustainable soy bean meal and palm oil purchased as a KPI. In 2016, 73% of soybean meal conformed to the FEFAC guidelines, whereby in the Netherlands 100% sustainable soy bean meal was purchased. With respect to palm oil, the purchases were supported, inter alia, by Green Palm certificates in those countries in which agreements are in place.

Through a structured dialogue with suppliers and the development of a supplier code of practice, ForFarmers’ commitment to sourcing according to recognised environmental, social and ethical standards will be extended to include all raw materials. In addition to purchasing responsible soy, ForFarmers is continually researching alternative protein sources so that soy inclusion levels can be reduced or indeed excluded. Alternatives include insect protein and the use of higher levels of materials grown in the EU such as sunflower and rapeseed meals. It is important to note that soy is a highly economical source of protein for livestock and is a resource efficient solution. ForFarmers research shows that diets can be produced with lower levels of soy meal and maintain animal performance; however, these diets will cost more and have a higher environmental footprint. Under the proviso that the consumer is prepared to pay for the additional costs, it is envisaged that in the short term these types of concepts will be used in supply chains.


Water usage is monitored by site and reviewed on a monthly basis by supply chain management. Efforts are made continuously to reduce water usage.

4. People & Society: Ensure safe and good working conditions

In the Netherlands and Belgium some 95% of staff are covered by collective labour agreements. In Germany, this percentage is around 12.5% and in the United Kingdom none of the employees are covered by a collective labour agreement. ForFarmers commits itself to ensuring the safety of people, processes and products and aims for fair and good working conditions throughout the chain. In this respect, ForFarmers has established a Supplier Code of Conduct. Environmental policy and respecting human rights are part of the sustainability approach of ForFarmers. For a detailed description of the HR-policy, reference is made to the relevant chapter in this annual report.

The health and safety of everyone who works at or visits a ForFarmers site or visits a customer’s farm is given the highest priority. A 2020 objective has been set to reduce Lost Time Incidents (LTIs) by 70% compared to 2014. A lot of effort has been dedicated in 2016 to communicating on Health & Safety procedures. Throughout ForFarmers, the ‘Better Safe than Sorry’ campaign was introduced. Although staff throughout the Group has become more aware of the importance of Health & Safety, additional steps need to be taken that should lead to behavioural change.

The implementation of ForFarmers’ Health & Safety approach is managed by the Director of Continuous Improvement. The Executive Committee reviews the performance on a monthly basis. The program emphasizes that all employees, contactors or visitors have a responsibility for their own safety and that of others around them.

ForFarmers’ approach to Health & Safety can be summarised as follows:

  • Raising awareness by training staff, talks with all mill based drivers and lorry drivers, intranet publications for all employees, dynamic risk assessments and an internal communications campaign: #BETTERSAFETHANSORRY.
    All to ensure that everyone is aware of how to improve their own safety.
  • Inspiring employees to increasingly report near incidents in order to prevent real incidents to occur and to effect a change in behaviour.
  • Educating employees, temporary staff and contractors how to do every task safely.
  • Clear rules so that everyone is aware of what they can and cannot do and knows the implications of non-compliance.
  • Compliance to the way of working to ensure that procedures, work instructions and rules are followed.
  • Audits to see to the correct management of all critical areas of risk.

ForFarmers has chosen number of Lost Time Incidents (LTIs) as a KPI. More checks and more training courses have been conducted in 2016. In addition, more has been invested in the factories and in know-how for employees. The positive outcome of this is that this has already led to an increase in the number of near-miss notifications which are used to prevent accidents occurring. There were 55 LTIs in 2016, compared to 47 in 2015. The number of LTIs has slightly increased, due to increasing awareness and better reporting. An all time low in 2016 was the tragic and sad loss of a member of staff due to a fatal incident. In 2017 there will be continued focus and attention on safety at work both at ForFarmers locations and on farm. This is expected to lead to a decrease in the number of LTIs within the foreseeable future.

Besides offering a safe and healthy working environment, ForFarmers recognizes its role in society and in the agricultural sector. ForFarmers supplies over 25,000 farmer customers and has relationships with a large number of suppliers. ForFarmers wants to be a good corporate citizen to its neighbours and take care of the local environment.

ForFarmers also contributes to society by supporting a number of agricultural charities, such as:

In the United Kingdom:

  • The Addington Fund, which provides homes for farming families who have to leave the industry.
  • The Worshipful Company of Farmers, which, besides many other charitable activities, supports the development of skills for everyone involved in the farming industry (especially the development of leadership and management skills).
  • The Prince’s Dairy Initiative brought together the dairy sector to take practical action to support the sustainability of a diverse British dairy industry.

In the Netherlands:

  • The Lignine Research Project at Wageningen University, in which work is done on examining improving the digestibility of feed materials such as straw that are difficult to digest, to be made available for feeding in developing countries.
  • The “Feed on Tour” initiative aims to educate schoolchildren on food and farming.
  • The Innovation Fund which incentivises Dutch farmers to develop new technology.
  • The association ‘care for farmers’ (ZOB), an independent organisation with over 40 volunteers (mostly from the agricultural sector) providing a ‘listening ear’ to farmers throughout the Netherlands.

  • Staff and customers from all ForFarmers operations support the initiative to participate in the Alp d’Huzes event which is a Dutch initiative to raise money for cancer research, with a team from the agricultural sector. ForFarmers participates each year under the brand name BIG Challenge.


5. People & Society: Improve feed safety

Feed and food safety has been identified as a material aspect for ForFarmers.

Management approach

The Quality department manages feed safety on central and local level. New data systems have been implemented to collect and report Health & Safety, Environment and Quality data. Supplier evaluation is managed via the Ris© database. During 2017, suppliers will be reviewed with respect to their risk profile based on the product sourced and country of origin. Furthermore, during 2016 a One ForFarmers approach to HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) was implemented.

A monitoring system is in place to determine unwanted substances in feed materials and compound feeds. The monitoring plan is based on the requirements of EU legislation, GMP+, Feed Chain Alliance and UFAS regulations, the SecureFeed monitoring plan and ForFarmers own risk analyses.

ForFarmers proactively monitors and manages all incidences of non-compliance with feed regulations and voluntary codes as a KPI.

Number of feed incidents 2016:

Country Non compliance with Regulations resulting in fine or penalty Non compliance with Regulations resulting in a warning Non compliance with Voluntary codes
Netherlands 2 4 4
Germany 2 1 1
Belgium 0 3 0
UK 0 0 2

Non-compliance is determined by the relevant competent authorities and external certification bodies in each country via inspections and external audits.


ForFarmers Quality Managers are responsible for determining whether non-compliance is linked to feed safety, a decision validated by the Group Quality Manager. The management of any incidents on non-compliance is a high priority as they are linked to the Company’s registration with certification bodies and Government authorities which is a mandatory requirement for the manufacture and supply of feed. In 2016, there were 4 incidents that resulted in fines: A hygiene issue in one factory; incorrect marketing claims for products; failure to report a microbiological finding to the correct authority; incorrect labelling of a product. These incidences resulted in fines totalling €17,885. All 4 incidents were thoroughly investigated and resolved with the relevant authorities.

Supplier review

An important part of ForFarmers’ quality system is an annual evaluation of suppliers. Suppliers are assessed on criteria such as complaints, information provided, transparency and approach to audits. If a supplier falls below ForFarmers’ standards, clear measures with a timeline for corrective actions are agreed between both parties. ForFarmers will stop trading with the supplier if need be.


ForFarmers’ quality systems are tested via a series of internal and external audits. This is to verify whether ForFarmers’ quality management process complies with legislation, ForFarmers’ own quality standards, market concepts, quality goals and policy. The outcome of these internal and external audits provides ForFarmers with important information to continuously improve the quality of products, processes and services to improve customer satisfaction. Targets are in place for the period of time in which major and minor non-conformances are resolved. All major non-conformances should be solved immediately.


Customer complaints are an important source of information for ForFarmers. By listening to customers, ForFarmers continuously improves its performance. The number of complaints received is reviewed by the Business Units and Quality Department on a monthly basis.

6. Animal Health and Animal Welfare

In all of the external stakeholder interviews, animal health and welfare emerges as an important aspect. ForFarmers considers it its task and challenge to help all its customers to feed their animals well and keep them healthy. Each animal should receive the correct level of nutrition to meet its basic needs. It also includes developing specific concepts to help customers mitigate the impact of specific legislative requirements such as the ban on de-beaking hens or castration of male pigs.

ForFarmers has customers using many different production systems, intensive and extensive, conventional and organic, indoor and outdoor and large and small scale. ForFarmers’ role is to optimise resource efficiency and animal health and welfare in whatever production system is being used. In some cases, society may choose to compromise resource efficiency in favour of specific health and welfare requirements (e.g. slower growing broiler chickens in the Netherlands and Germany).

ForFarmers deems improving animal health and welfare as an integral part of its Total Feed offering and has not yet identified a specific KPI on this material aspect given the different species and the broad spectrum of the aspect.

Animal health and animal welfare is a key element in the NIC's innovation projects. Examples of projects in 2016 include:

  • The development of an index that takes into account the effect of minerals on rumen health.
  • The development of a new measurement technique with respect to the vitality of calves.
  • A change in the type of proteins used in a number of piglet diets has been developed which results in improved gut flora and less soy usage.
  • The health and welfare benefits of increasing fibre levels for pigs have been investigated.
  • Progress has been made in calculating the ideal protein adjustments for health challenged pigs. Feeding concepts have been developed for reducing streptococcus infection in piglets and looking at how diet can reduce salmonella incidence.
  • A new layer feed focuses on better transition between growth stages and is suitable for hens which have not been de-beaked.

Anti Microbial Resistance

ForFarmers looks for nutritional solutions to reduce the quantity of antibiotics used in livestock production. There is a societal concern about the fact that some bacteria are no longer susceptible to antibiotics which are used for treating people. If antibiotics are used in too large quantities or frequency, it has been proven that bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics (Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)). Over recent years, there has been a trend to reduce or exclude the use of pre-emptive in-feed medication. In Germany and the Netherlands, sector agreements are in place and no in-feed medication is used. In Belgium, in-feed medication is only used for young pigs when necessary. In the United Kingdom a number of industry initiatives are taking place to reduce overall antibiotic use in livestock production following the publication of the O’Neill Report. ForFarmers is taking an active role in the United Kingdom in sharing its experience of reducing antibiotic use in the Netherlands. In November 2016, ForFarmers organised a conference in the United Kingdom with over 70 key supply chain partners in the swine industry to share this experience and challenge whether the sector is rising to the AMR challenge. ForFarmers is implementing this knowledge locally, by organising regional follow-up sessions.

This report contains Standard Disclosures from the GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.