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Problems Associated with Organic Poultry Diets

November 2015
Burley, H.K., P.H. Patterson and K.E. Anderson

In organic poultry diets, synthetic methionine use is currently limited to 1 kg and 1.5 kg per metric ton (2.2-3 lbs per short ton) in organic feed for laying hens, broilers, turkeys and other poultry in the United States. All other synthetic amino acids (AA) have been banned from use in organic poultry diets. It is challenging to provide sufficient methionine to maintain bird growth and productive performance up to current industry standards given the recent restrictions that have been placed on synthetic methionine. Without synthetic amino acids, methionine requirements can alternatively be obtained for organic poultry by significantly increasing dietary crude protein via additional inclusion of expeller-pressed soybean meal to the diets. However, this strategy leads to both major increases in feed costs and environmental concerns due to increasing nitrogen excretion, with concurrent rises in ammonia emissions, and corresponding welfare issues due to ammonia and litter quality. This paper reviews the negative impacts associated with limiting synthetic amino acids.