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Feeding Insects Can Boost Milk And Meat Production; Know How!

Advocates claim that using insects as ingredients can increase the sustainability of human and animal food, and the global market for edible insects is expanding swiftly.

Chintu Das

The difficulty of feeding everyone is increasing along with the rising population across the world. According to current estimates, the world's food demand could rise by 59 to 98 percent above present levels by 2050. Demand for high-quality protein sources, like meat and dairy products, will especially rise.

Producers of livestock in the United States and other exporting nations are seeking ways to enhance their productivity while also being mindful of the effects that agricultural production has on the environment. Finding substances for animal feed that can replace grains will free up more cropland to be used for crops for human consumption, which is a significant leverage point.

Cattle are natural upcyclers because they can convert low-quality food sources, like grass and hay, that humans cannot digest into high-quality protein foods, like meat and milk, that satisfy human nutritional needs. However, when grass and hay lose too much of their protein content, usually in the winter, farmers feed their livestock extra protein sources, frequently soybean meal.

Although this tactic promotes cattle growth, it also raises the price of meat and reduces the amount of farmland available for growing crops for human use.

Other negative effects of grain production include deforestation in the Amazon, which is a result of large-scale soybean production.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Worldwide, the insect farming sector is expanding quickly. Due to their high nutritional value and fast growth, producers are raising insects for animal feed. Additionally, evidence suggests that feeding cattle insects has a lower environmental impact than using standard feed crops like soybean meal.

The black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) is one of thousands of edible insect species that is gaining popularity. Black soldier flies have a larval composition of 45% protein and 35% fat. Waste products from a variety of industries, such as pre-consumer food waste, can be fed to them effectively. The larvae may be produced in factory-sized facilities on a massive scale, and once dried, they are shelf-stable.

Already Authorised For Other Livestock

In place of traditional protein feeds like soybean meal and fish meal, black soldier fly larvae can be fed to chickens, pigs, and fish, according to extensive research. The larvae have been given the go-ahead to be fed to chickens, pigs, and some fish by the American Association of Feed Control Officials, whose members oversee the sale and distribution of animal feeds in the United States.

Positive Outcomes In Cattle

Similar to the traditional protein supplement, the insect-based protein supplement  improved animals' hay intake and digestion. This suggests that black soldier fly larvae could be used as an alternate source of protein.


The larvae would cost a little bit more than the current protein sources currently fed to cattle, such as soybean meal, according to the research. The enhanced nutritional profile of black soldier fly larvae is reflected in the higher price. However, it is not yet clear if the cattle industry would be willing to pay this price or whether the insect farming sector could produce black soldier fly larvae at that cost.

Advocates claim that employing insects as components can increase the sustainability of human and animal diet, which is supported by the rapidly expanding global market for edible insects. The cattle feeding market is a perfect one, and expect to see more study involving both producers of insects and cattle.

Source: The Print

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