Insect farming refers to the practice of breeding insects for livestock. This occurs for a variety of reasons, including using insects for food or in food products, for dye, or for the insects’ produce. Today we are going to explore everything you need to know about insect farming for animal feed and insect farming business solutions that have developed over the past few years. You’ll find that interest in insect farming is only continuing to increase now due to the interest in using insect products as animal feed from farmers around the world.
Insect for Animal Feed
Insects are a promising source of animal feed, but insect farming for human consumption is another area of growing interest. When it comes to animal feed, fly larvae could be used to replace fish meal. This is due to the similarities in their amino acid composition, and you’ll find that it’s a more sustainable long-term solution than more traditional animal feed solutions. For both poultry and wild birds, you’ll find that they can consume insects in various forms, including adult, pupal, and larval. Poultry can benefit from a wide variety of insect farming and feed solutions, including grasshoppers, moths, and houseflies. In the future, we expect even reptiles, birds, and monkeys to be potentially fed with insect feed as research into this area continues further.
The insect protein industry is predicted to be worth up to $21 billion by 2030, and it’s a promising source of animal feed, fertilizer, and for use in medical products. Insect farming for animal feed involves breeding, rearing, and then harvesting the insects. The most commonly farmed insects currently include mealworms, crickets, and the black soldier fly. However, we are continuing to see further research into other insects that could be used for the same reason, offering a protein-rich substitute for animal feed.
You might not know that there are hundreds of different types of crickets. The house cricket is the most dominant option when it comes to human consumption, and it’s known for its nutritional profile. Crickets are easy for both animals and humans to consume, and they can be served in many different ways. Once the crickets are farmed on the insect farm, they can then be dry-roasted, deep-fried, boiled, or baked.
Another popular way to incorporate cricket farm products into animal or human feed is via cricket flour, which is a powder of ground and dried crickets. This can then easily be added into various products for animals or humans, offering a nutritious food source for fish, birds, reptiles, or other mammals to consume. In order to receive the crickets to make into these products, they are killed by deep freezing. This is a painless solution to create cricket feed, where they are sedated before their neurological death.
Black Soldier Fly Farming
At the current time, black soldier fly farming is the most popular type of insect farming in the world. It’s ideal for food products as the production cycle is incredibly fast, and the insects offer a high concentration of protein. Black soldier fly larvae farming is also ideal for food for a wide number of animals, making this type of farm a profitable venture for insect farmers. In the breeding phase, you’ll find that the eggs are deposited by the adult flies into vertically racked containers. These are filled with substrate that’s made from industrial waste streams. In order to get the perfect breeding conditions, they are placed in climate-controlled conditions so that the eggs quickly hatch into larvae.
During the production of black soldier flies, the temperature, food supply, and humidity must be very carefully controlled. Within 12-15 days, the larvae can reach their maximum body mass when they are grown in optimum conditions. They’ll rapidly consume the nutrients within the organic waste, which helps them gain a high nutritional profile. The larvae are between 30 and 40% protein, and they also offer many other essential nutrients for animals and humans. The insects can then be dried and processed to create high protein insect meal, which can be added to animal feed for consumption.
Insect Farming for Food
Insects in agriculture are a way in which we overcome the issues that humanity is facing with our ever-growing population. Insect farming for food is something that is now being considered around the world. Insects offer a very nutrient-efficient food source for humans, especially when they are compared to other typical sources of meat we consume. You’ll find that the insect protein content is very comparable to that of chicken and beef, but the fatty acid composition is also similar to fish. One of the biggest benefits of this type of farming is that edible insects can be consumed in their entirety, so you aren’t wasting parts of the animal in the way you do with traditional meat sources.
When you search online for new food products, you’ll often see insects such as crickets and flies, including in more traditional food products. Cricket flour can be used as the base for cookies and other baked goods, making these a protein-rich product that anyone can enjoy. Over the next few years, we expect insects to be a more commonly used protein source for humans, combating the growing concerns about meat production and the greenhouse gases they give off into the atmosphere.
As you can see, insect farming is an exciting area of development that can offer us a new and innovative source of protein for both animals and humans. We can only expect interest in this type of farming to continue to grow in the next decades, especially as our population is continuing to grow year after year. It’s a sustainable protein source that can be grown quicker than other traditional options, making it a good option for animal feed for farmers for the future.