Review: Insect meal: a future source of protein feed for pigs?
Are insects the farm animal of the future? A key agenda for agricultural production systems is the development of sustainable practices whereby food and feed can be produced in an environmentally efficient manner. These goals require novel approaches to complex problems and demand collaboration between scientists, producers, consumers, government and the general population. The provision of feed for animals is a major contributor to land and water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
... overfishing and a reduction in available land and water resources on which crops can be grown has led to an increase in price of protein ingredients such as fish meals and oils and soybean meals. Determination of novel solutions to meet the feed protein requirements of production animals is key to the development of sustainable farming practices. The Australian pork industry aims to develop production systems that efficiently use available resources (such as feed and energy) and limit the production of emissions (such as manure waste and GHGs). Invertebrates (insects e.g. black soldier flies) are naturally consumed by monogastric and aquatic species, yet the large-scale production of insects for feed (or food) is yet to be exploited. Most insects are low producers of GHGs and have low land and water requirements. The large-scale production of insects can contribute to a circular economy whereby food and feed waste (and potentially manure) are reduced or ideally eliminated via bioconversion. While the concept of farm-scale production of insects as domestic animal feed has been explored for decades, significant production and replacement of traditional protein sources has yet to be achieved. This review will focus on the potential role of insect-derived protein as a feed source for the Australian pig production industry.