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New Technology Provides Solution To Averting Potential Food Crisis

Irish Technology Company partners with global nutrition providers to improve production levels of milk and beef by up to 30% 

New research released today reveals that milk and beef producers can improve their production levels by up to 30% through maximising the nutritional value obtained from animal feed. An improvement in feed conversion efficiency (FCE) will have significant global implications and will reduce the volume of animal feed, agricultural land and farm animals that are required to produce 700 million tonnes of milk each year for the global population. The research was revealed at the first Global Dairy Feed Efficiency and Food Sustainability Summit which took place simultaneously in Dublin, Paris, Washington, London, Berlin and The Hague today. Over 300 world leaders in the food and agriculture sectors attended the Summit which was organised by the Irish based feed technology company, Richard Keenan & Company and Enterprise Ireland.

The new research, initiated by Keenan and conducted at leading research organizations including The Universities of Manchester, Reading (UK), Illinois and Iowa State (USA), examines how the implementation of a new approach to feeding livestock focused on optimising physical nutrition, can increase milk and beef production by up to 30%. Proper nutrition and management protocols combined with a new technology called the Keenan Mech-fiber System which manages the physical nutrition, are the key elements of this productivity jump.

A study of 500 herds in France and UK showed an average milk production increase of 1.9kgs ECM/cow/day, one year following adoption of the Keenan Mech-fiber System. With an accompanying 0.73kgs DM intake reduction/cow/day, average FCE increased by 12% with no notable changes in herd condition scores. At current average European milk prices and feed costs this efficiency gain improved daily margin gain by 0.75/cow. For a 100 cow herd, this margin improvement is worth an estimated 22,875 per year. The research conclusively proves that the Keenan Mech-fiber System significantly altered the input / output relationship.

The Keenan Mech-fiber rations can significantly improve yields of milk, FCE and daily margins. The system aims to optimise cow performance through optimal rumen function by providing the correct provision of a unique, defined and quantifiable ration structure – known as Mech-fiber. Some of the worlds most feed efficient dairy producers are over 30% more efficient than the average herd and are achieving margins gains of 3.14/cow/day through full adoption of the technology and its protocols.

The latest surge in food and commodity prices has reawakened concerns about the capacity of the global agriculture sector to meet the food demands of the worlds growing population. The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has estimated that the demand for milk will double in the developing world over the next 40 years as income and population grows and without any improvement in milk production efficiency the additional global milk increase would require an additional 313m tonnes of feed for dairy cows.

Professor Robert Jolly, Department of Economics, Iowa State University said that this significant announcement could have major implications for the agricultural sector. The ability to produce more milk and beef from the same resources will significantly help the agricultural community overcome the challenge of meeting the future global demand for these commodities. A 25% increase in efficiency could reduce the land area needed for dairy feed production by more than 51 million acres at a cost savings at current feed prices of nearly US$46bn (37bn). Increased feed efficiency would also significantly reduce the environmental impact of dairy production through better land use and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Professor David Beever, Emeritus Professor of Animal Science, The University of Reading said: Although much of the discussion on improved global food production tends to focus on crops, increased efficiency in the livestock sector is critical if increased food demands are to be met in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. Todays Summit is noteworthy as it is the first time that the industry leaders in feed have directly partnered with a leading feed technology company to directly tackle the global issue of food sustainability.

Speaking at the Summit, Gerard Keenan, Group Executive Chairman of Richard Keenan & Company said that the Keenan Mech-fiber System is an established practical solution that allows producers to deliver more milk and beef from the same resources. When it is correctly and consistently implemented, it will significantly increase the economic performance of dairy operations. But more importantly, the technology represents a basis for working with other feeding advisors across the world with the potential to really contribute to global food sustainability. Keenan has partnered with five leading nutrition companies in a first phase to deliver this solution to a global marketplace.

The research concluded that in order to realise a 20% increase in FCE, an integrated approach which incorporates chemical nutrition and physical nutrition with disciplined best nutrition management practices must be undertaken. Keenan has partnered with five leading nutrition companies, ADM (USA), Agrifirm (Netherlands), BOCM Pauls (UK), MSG (China) and Sanders (France), to collaborate and deliver an economic and environmentally sustainable solution for livestock producers.

  • The Global Dairy Feed Efficiency and Food Sustainability Summit, which took place simultaneously in Dublin, Paris, Washington, London, Berlin and The Hague, was organised by Keenan and Enterprise Ireland in association with ADM (USA), Agrifirm (Netherlands), BOCM Pauls (UK), MSG (China) and Sanders (France).
  • Livestock production accounts for 70% of all agricultural land and 30% of the land surface of the planet*
  • Expansion of livestock production is a key factor in deforestation especially in Latin America
  • The livestock sector is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent and accounts for over 8% of global human water use, mostly for the irrigation of feedcrops.*
  • The research featured a feeding trial in Europe involving 3399 cows on 20 dairy farms. The data received from this research corresponds with the extensive performance monitoring database that Keenan manages involving 8,777 herds in 25 countries
  • A copy of Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage through Mech-fiber Technology is available to download at

About Richard Keenan & Co.

Richard Keenan & Co. is a feeding and feed technology company that improves ruminant livestock feed efficiency with major positive effects on farm producer margins and sustainable food production. Operating under the Keenan System brand that denotes its unique combination of engineering and nutrition, the companys recently introduced patent protected Mech-fiber technology is a pivotal element in new strategic alliances with major agri-businesses in America, Europe and Asia. Based in Borris, County Carlow, Ireland, the company has 90% of sales in export markets, over 25,000 customers in 40 countries, employs 250 people, an annual turnover of 50million and a scientific advisory board of leading scientists in agriculture and food from the USA, Europe and Australia.  Further details at

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