Enzymes help make nutrients more available to the animal
Enzymes are proteins or protein-based molecules that increase nutrient utilization in feed. They have two key roles—they break down a larger molecule into one or more smaller molecules or they combine smaller molecules into a large molecule. Either way, enzymes help convert a less digestible component of feed (e.g. fiber) into a more usable form for the animals to utilize for growth, egg production, etc.

Enzyme supplementation in animal feed shows numerous benefits including improved gut health by making nutrients more available to the animal and less available as a nutrient source for “bad” bacteria. By making nutrients more available, enzymes also reduce feed costs, improve feed conversion, and improve the consistency in the diet. Finally, since nutrients are more available for the animal to use, less quantities of nutrients are excreted in waste thereby conferring environmental benefits to diets supplemented with enzymes.

Wenger Feeds reformulates a feed when an enzyme is added and does not add the enzyme “on top” of the feed. This reduces feed costs because the enzyme is given an energy value within the diet based on the increased energy release from ingredients already in the feed. This reformulation process results in no change in animal performance but does reduce feed cost. Enzymes added in addition to the current formulation can increase animal performance by increasing weight gain and improving feed conversion.
Enzymes commonly used in animal feed address different challenges with feed ingredients. Xylanase breaks down fiber common in ingredients like corn, wheat, wheat middlings, and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), and releases starch as a readily available energy source.  Amylase specifically improves starch digestibility, especially for young animals. As the name suggests, protease breaks down protein and helps release carbohydrates bound in the protein fraction. Phytase breaks down phytate and makes phosphorus more available to the animal thereby reducing the need for inorganic phosphorus supplements and reducing phosphorus excretion in waste, a key environmental benefit.

Wenger Feeds uses enzyme products which include a combination of xylanase, amylase, and protease.  The combination product helps to improve the availability of nutrients through more than one mode of action, as discussed previously. The company is currently researching another enzyme product that includes a different type of amylase as well as higher inclusions of xylanase and protease. This enzyme product may work better with higher fiber diets that contain more DDGS, wheat middlings, or other byproducts. The company may recommend the use of this new product if a producer switches to a diet containing higher levels of byproduct ingredients.

Enzymes are temperature sensitive. Therefore, when they are added to the pelleted feed, the temperature at the pellet mill must be closely monitored to make sure the activity of the enzymes is not destroyed. Phytase, for example, is often sprayed on to pelleted feeds after the pelleting process.

If you have a question about enzyme use in your feeds, see your Account Leader.

For more information on Wenger Feeds’ Products and Services, contact us.