New beginnings

The AFMA Technical Committee (TC) kick-started 2018 with a new revised agenda for their first meeting held on 13 February. The TC agenda is now purely focussed on animal feeding and nutrition related matters. All regulatory projects and feedback from AFMA liaison activities with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) have been moved to the Regulatory Committee agenda.

The TC chairperson, Ms Jackie Tucker from Chemuniqué highlighted the main projects for 2018 to include:

  • a recommendation on the maximum moisture level of hominy chop for registration;
  • a guideline to determine acceptable carry-over levels in a feed mill and premix plant;
  • a revision of the current nutrient guidelines for all specie feeds – including a novel chapter on game feed, as well as
  • a new project looking at silage quality parameters

Dr Francois van de Vyver from Nutri Feeds was elected as the vice-chairperson of the TC.

Hominy chop

The AFMA Technical Subcommittee concluded a trial to determine an allowable moisture level for hominy chop produced in a wet-milling system. The results indicated that hominy chop of 16% moisture, which is received at a feed mill; stored under proper conditions; and used according to a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system within 15 days, is safe to use in animal feed. The AFMA Technical Committee will make a formal recommendation to the Registrar of Act 36 based on the trial results and in response to the Registrars’ request to provide scientific evidence for increasing the maximum allowable moisture of hominy chop for registration purposes.

Blood meal

AFMA is currently engaging with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) through a working group to design a traceability protocol for the use of bovine blood meal in poultry feeds. The use of any mammalian derived protein and/or by-products (except for milk and milk products) in animal feed is prohibited without the necessary exemption from the relevant authorities.

In order to obtain an exemption to use bovine blood meal in poultry feed, the feed mill together with its supplying abattoir(s) and rendering plant(s), must be registered as blood meal (BM) facilities and also actively participate in ongoing traceability audits by an approved auditor. The successful implementation of this traceability protocol, a first of its kind in South Africa, will not only provide feed manufacturers with an alternative protein source, but also alleviate the environmental impact of having to dump unwanted raw blood in the environment. The working group conducted a trial audit at three facilities in January 2018, and it is expected that they will conclude the project by mid-year, followed by implementation in all the provinces of South Africa.

Proposed ban of formaldehyde & n-hexane

The Registrar of Act 36 informed AFMA in a letter about the potential phasing out of the inert/active ingredients formaldehyde and n-hexane used in farm feeds, as from 1 August 2020. The action stems from a need to reduce the risks related to human health and the environment from exposure to such substances. AFMA is engaging with its members and relevant stakeholders on the potential impact of such a ban on the animal feed- and oilseed crushing industries, and will address the issue via a Technical Subcommittee dedicated to this project going forward.

Nutrient guideline revision project

The AFMA Technical Committee (TC) embarked on a comprehensive project in 2017 to review and update the nutrient guidelines for all species feeds marketed in South Africa (excluding dog and cat food). The project was, however, initially focussed only on the review of mineral requirements for ruminants and was launched in 2015 due to the increased incidence of osteochondrosis observed at the time by the working group of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute. During 2016, the AFMA TC nutrient guideline project was expanded to include nutrient guidelines for game feed. The motivation for the extension of the project was based on an outcome from the AFMA Feed Registration Backlog Project at Act 36 - where the absence of guidance documents related to game feed was highlighted as a constraint to an efficient registration approval process.

Subsequently, the TC has voted to include all other types of feed in the nutrient guideline revision project in preparation for the Feeds and Pet Food Bill and they are currently working with the Act 36 Technical Advisors on the revision of all compound and concentrate farm feed nutrient requirements.

Silage quality

The AFMA Technical Committee will place special focus on silage quality parameters in the coming year, and in doing so, will partner with Plaas Media’s silage competition judging panel in establishing definitive protocol criteria for its annual silage competition. The AFMA Silage Subcommittee (SC) will not be involved in the selection or nomination of a winner during the competition, but rather focus its efforts on providing once-off scientific evidence for evaluation criteria. The protocol evaluation criteria may be reviewed annually by the Silage SC as per request of the Plaas Media silage competition judges.

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