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Farmers and feed companies have witnessed unforeseen price increases of feed materials during the last year, which has further escalated recently due to the inconceivable and brutal war in Ukraine. Prices of grains, protein, oils, and other feed materials have risen to a record high level, thus increasing the feeding costs. At the same time, the industry is also suffering from high costs of energy. Unfortunately, the respective price increases of milk, meat, and eggs are materializing slowly.


In this situation, farmers and feed producers are naturally looking for solutions to reduce the price of feed but should not forget the crucial effect of feed conversion ratio (FCR) on the production costs. Hankkija’s Progut® and Progres® have been shown to improve FCR in numerous trials with different animal species. The trial findings are briefly summarized and discussed in the following text.


The feed utilization of dairy cows is largely dependent on the efficiency of rumen fermentation. Numerous trials have shown the efficacy of yeast hydrolysate Progut® Extra to boost rumen fermentation and increase the production of microbial biomass and volatile fatty acids. This means a more efficient conversion of feedstuffs to protein and energy. For example in three individual trials by Kettunen et al. (2016), Progut® Extra increased the production of gas, microbial populations, and volatile fatty acids with different diets. In particular, it increased the production of propionic acid. Performance studies with different Institutes and Research Farms have shown the ability of Progut® Extra to improve the FCR of dairy cows by 5–9%.

Hankkija’s resin acids product Progres®, the only source of coniferous resin acids for animal feeds, has been proven to protect the intestinal epithelium against collagen degradation by inflammation-associated endogenous enzymes. It has also increased the length of small-intestinal villi in broilers. Improved condition of the intestinal epithelium and increased villi length are enhancing nutrient absorption and thus leading to better FCR. In calf trials, Progres® addition to the diet has improved FCR by 3–5%.


The ability of Progres® to reduce the inflammation-induced degradation of intestinal tissue is independent of the cause of inflammation (pathogens, mycotoxins, stress, etc.) and is thus providing universal performance benefits to animals. In eight institutional performance trials in broilers, Progres® addition to the diet improved FCR on average by 3.6 points (Valkonen, E. 2018). Respectively in five challenge trials, the FCR was improved on average by 7 points. The results show nicely that Progres® improves FCR of broilers in good commercial production conditions but even more under challenging conditions. In growing turkeys, Progres® improved FCR by 5–8 points depending on the inclusion rate (Lipinski et al. 2020).

Due to the specific hydrolysis Progut® contains a high amount of bioactive structures (e.g. β-glucan and mannose-rich glycoproteins) and has increased water-solubility for improved interactions with intestinal bacteria and immune cell receptors. It has thus shown to beneficially modulate the composition of gut microbiota and train the immune system of young animals to cope better with the challenges. Through these functions, Progut® improved the FCR of weaned piglets by 5–10% (Jensen et al. 2013, Molist et al. 2014).               


Despite record-high raw material and feed prices, a good feed conversion ratio remains the key factor in production costs. Progut® and Progres® feed ingredients demonstrate scientifically proven ability to improve FCR in different animal species and thus can help to reduce feeding costs also in the current situation.