Chicken Feed Formulation tool being utilised to develop balanced diets from local ingredients for pigs in Timor Leste.
The One Page Feed Formulation (OPFF) tool, developed by Professor Gene Pesti in collaboration with PHA, is playing a crucial role in assisting livestock staff and veterinarians in Timor Leste to tackle challenges related to animal nutrition.
Timor Leste faces specific challenges in its agriculture, with conventional animal feed sources such as soy bean meal, fish meal and even corn, either unavailable or cost prohibitive. The OPFF offers a practical approach to formulating feed while considering both the nutritional requirements of livestock and the constraints of the region.
In 2019, East Timor grappled with the devastating outbreak of African Swine Fever causing severe economic repercussions. The highly contagious virus decimated domestic pig populations, and it is estimated that 30% of the nation’s pig population was lost. Urgent containment measures were imperative to mitigate the spread and the staggering economic impact.
This further compounded the issue of ensuring adequate nutrition, given that conventional farming methods involved allowing pigs to roam freely and graze. Consequently, there was a scarcity of local expertise regarding the formulation of suitable feeds for domestic pigs. This lack of knowledge resulted in diets initially being fed that were deficient in calcium, phosphorus and protein, resulting in reduced body weights and issues with lameness.
The OPFF addresses this practical need by enabling farmers to create a balanced diet using these diverse local ingredients. Whilst not ideal due to their reduced nutritional values compared to conventional feed ingredients, these ingredients are immediately available and cost effective and include golden snails, forage leaves, food waste, leucaena as well as root vegetables such a sweet potato and cassava.
The partnership between Professor Gene Pesti and PHA highlights the significance of interdisciplinary efforts in resolving complex agricultural issues. Whilst the OPFF was originally developed for chickens, its application as a tool to develop pig diets in Timor Leste reflects a tailored response to the unique challenges faced by the local farming community.
This is just one example of how the tools and calculators freely available on the Poultry Hub website are helping farmers and researchers across the world. To learn more about these tools, visit https://www.poultryhub.org/research/resources-for-researchers