Soy must be certified and sustainable

Agravis has reduced the proportion of soybean meal in compound feed by 40% in recent years.
picture-alliance / dpa
Agravis has reduced the proportion of soybean meal in compound feed by 40% in recent years.

The majority of Agravis Raiffeisen AG's compound feed plants have been using only soy from certified sustainable cultivation in production since the current year. The proportion of domestic feed components has increased significantly overall.

"This is a further step in aligning our economic development and production in a sustainable and resource-conserving way," explains Dr. Dirk Köckler, CEO of Agravis Raiffeisen AG. The company is committed to the responsible use of valuable resources and to a sustainable value chain in the procurement of raw materials for animal feed as part of the agricultural supply chain. Already since the beginning of January 2022, the majority of the compound feed plants, which Agravis operates partly in partnership with cooperatives, have been using only soy from sustainably certified cultivation in their own production. In addition, Agravis supports the cultivation of sustainably grown palm oil for the production of animal feed by purchasing certificates.

Certifications as an important instrument

Last year, Agravis and its cooperative partners processed around 260,000 metric tons of soybean meal at their compound feed plants to produce animal feed. "As a feed producer, we rely on importing protein-rich feedstuffs such as soybean extraction meal. In doing so, we attach importance to sustainable and certified products and see these certifications as an important tool for greater sustainability in the countries of origin and the supply chain," describes Bernd Schmitz, Head of the Feed Division at Agravis Raiffeisen AG. In addition, the recipes of compound feeds have also changed.

More legumes in animal feed

For example, the proportion of soybean extraction meal in Agravis' compound feed formulations has been reduced by 40 percent over the past ten years, he adds. On the other hand, the proportion of domestic feedstuffs has increased, with, for example, 18 percent more feed grain used in compound feed and 16 percent more rapeseed extraction meal. German livestock farmers could meet a large part of their animals' feed needs themselves with grass, grain and corn. "Nevertheless, Germany currently relies on importing protein-rich feedstuffs such as soybean extraction meal," Schmitz explains further. "Soy from sustainable cultivation in Brazil is a highly efficient protein source, especially for young animals, of great global importance due to favorable climatic conditions. In the future, we expect modern seed breeding to offer soybeans that can also be grown economically in Germany. Last year, we were able to increase the use of legumes in animal feed sixfold," says Schmitz.
Diverse approaches for more sustainability

Agravis says it takes into account various sustainability standards, all of which have one goal: responsible soy production, which is to be expanded. As a member of the German Animal Feed Association (DVT), the company follows the guidelines of FONAP (Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil) and FONEI (Forum for Sustainable Protein Feed). Oilseed traders and processors are fully committed to the Amazon Soy Moratorium (ASM). Together, the stakeholders are participating in the expansion of sustainable supply chains. In addition, the company is actively involved in the European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC) through DVT and aligns its soy purchasing with the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines 2021.

In the area of palm fats and oils, Agravis plans to use goods that fall under the RSPO standard (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) in 2022. This is characterized by social and ecological criteria in order to minimize the negative effects of palm oil cultivation. AGRAVIS is currently reviewing the necessary steps with the certifiers. By using palm oil and soy from sustainably certified cultivation, the company is able to protect the rainforests, which are important for the climate. Another important commitment in this direction is the cooperation with the largest Brazilian cooperative Coamo, which has its own sustainability system.