Reduce carbon footprint – the story behind the Anco tree

Planting trees helps to reduce carbon footprint. Anco had the opportunity through Ameisenhaufen to plant a tree in Guatemala and went for it. The fun thing is we can now follow the development of our tree online on the Treedom platform. So, here is the story behind it and how it is also helping farmers in Guatemala.

Green Webhosting to help reduce carbon footprint

At the end of last year Anco was offered the opportunity to support the green webhosting initiative from our web design partner Ameisenhaufen. This Austrian based web design agency started growing a forest with the help of the Treedom organization to make an impact when it comes to reducing carbon footprint.

The green webhosting concept means that for every new company signing up for the webhosting service provided by Ameisenhaufen, Ameisenhaufen is committed to donating a tree to be planted through the Treedom organization.

The idea behind the forest grown through the green webhosting initiative from the company Ameisenhaufen (Ameisenhaufen=anthill) is not only to help reduce carbon footprint, but also to provide a new habitat for ants and other animals in the wild. Furthermore, the donation to the Treedom organization is supporting farmers around the globe to plant trees and care for them. You can find more information on Treedom below.

The company Ameisenhaufen has already contributed to planting 250 trees through its green webhosting initiative, each of these trees comes with its own geolocation and can be followed in their development online. One of these trees is from Anco.

Why plant a tree?

Planting trees is a highly effective way of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere and is an important part of climate change solutions.  Indeed, scientists are now saying that forest restoration is the most powerful climate change solution. The great thing is, it is the cheapest way everybody can play a role in making an impact, by either growing trees themselves or donating to organizations involved in forest restoration.

Anco tree is helping farmers in Guatemala

Finally, we were told where the Anco tree, that came out of our contribution to green webhosting by Ameisenhaufen, is starting to grow. It is a coffee tree (Coffea Arabica) putting down roots in San Pedro Necta, Guatemala. The Anco tree comes with its own birth certificate, geolocation and online diary, where we are able to follow its growth and development.  By the time it is fully grown it should be adsorbing 55kg Co2. At the same time it is helping local farmers in Guatemala with their income and development.

Presence of Anco FIT in Guatemala

Anco FIT products are distributed by Eddy de Paz through the company Exin in Guatemala. In this country Anco FIT sales started in 2017 and have now reached a level where 9% of the animal feed produced in Guatemala has Anco FIT products inside.

Treedom forest restoration initiative to reduce carbon footprint

Treedom is supporting farmers around the globe with know-how and finance to plant and manage trees. It also provides a digital platform for those who are donating to this initiative, to monitor the trees they donated to over time. All trees that were planted are geolocated and come with their own diaries of their growth and development and contribution to adsorbing Co2, which gets documented online.

The philosophy behind Treedom is to realize sustainable ecosystems and allow farmers to support the initial costs of planting new trees, ensuring food autonomy and income opportunities. Since the launch of Treedom, over half a million new trees have been planted in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Italy.

 

Relevant links

Treedom tree planting platform

Green Webhosting with the Ameisenhaufen

Anco FIT product line now available in more than 30 countries

Biomimicry – can it help in the design of sustainable feed solutions?

Biomimicry has already generated many new technologies inspired by nature. Is there something that we can take away from it for the design of animal feed solutions for sustainable animal nutrition?

What is biomimicry?

Biomimicry, or biomimetics, is the study of nature and leveraging solutions that have evolved in nature to innovate and solve problems for the benefit of humans.  So essentially it is about piggy backing on nature or emulating what has already been proven by nature to work and to be sustainable throughout time.

Biomimicry is thought of as a field with potential to bring answers to many different disciplines, including medicine, architecture, agriculture, industry. It can pretty much apply to all sectors. Examples for innovations stemming from the application of biomimicry are architectural designs with improved thermoregulation inspired by termite mounds, robotics inspired by motor mechanisms of insects or velcro, which is derived from the observation of hooks implemented by certain plants that stick to animal coats. Aircraft engineers are inspired by birds and sharks to design lighter and more fuel-efficient aircrafts.

Repurposing nature’s best ideas to solve human challenges

 

Advantages of applying biomimicry to innovation and design

The field of biomimicry has experienced significant growth in recent years and has been popularized by Janine Benyus. It is now a tool to accelerate innovation for small and large companies.

Biomimicry is explained to be different from other bio-inspired design, because of its focus on learning from nature how to be sustainable. Designs following biomimicry are thought to be more efficient, resilient and sustainable, if they emulated biological lessons on form, process and ecosystem. The outcome is superior to that developed through any artificial means.

Biomimicry applied to the design of sustainable animal feed solutions

Farm animals possess limited physiologic responses to challenges such as for example high ambient temperatures, reproduction, oxidation or infections. However, amongst the millions of other species on earth facing the same challenges, we can find many other strategies or adaptations, which could be superior. This means that, within nature there are not just a handful of solutions, but a huge variety of strategies we could potentially adapt to solve physiological needs and equip animals to cope better with stressors.

How did nature solve this?

Plants evolved with sophisticated strategies to cope with stressors, since they can not move away from them and are bound to their locations. We can also learn from other organisms and species in nature that survive under extreme conditions, which strategies give them an advantage. What can we leverage from that in animal nutrition to support adaptive and coping mechanisms in animals?

New benchmarks in animal production and better ways of measuring improvements call for new approaches in the design and evaluation of feed solutions. Biomimicry offers a framework for innovation with sustainable outcomes. There is certainly no harm in asking how nature solved something as a source of inspiration.

Relevant articles

Animal resilience – harnessing the power of plant resilience

Resilient dairy cows – why is their value increasing?

Resilient dairy cows are worth more. Researchers studying resilience are discovering the benefits of resilience for cow wellbeing, production life span and profitability in milk production.

What resilience can NOT do in dairy cows

Resilience cannot replace good management practices, stresses Professor Müller, Director of the Ruminant and Swine Clinic of the Freie Universität Berlin in a webinar presentation organized by Anco Animal Nutrition Competence.

Ultimately it is about preparing the cow for stressors and challenges that cannot be controlled by management.  One of these challenges for example is the change from the dry period stage into  the lactation stage, i.e., the transition period. This is a natural and unstoppable process initiated by calving. However, the period around calving and the start of lactation is very stressful for the cow, especially for high producing dairy cows. A resilient cow can better adapt to this change from one stage into another and to the shock to her metabolism.

Also, the ability to adapt to issues arising from climate change play an important role to reduce the impact of heat stress on performance and animal welfare in dairy cow husbandry.

Definition of resilience in animal production

Colditz and Hine (2016) defined resilience as.  “The capacity of the animal to return rapidly to its pre-challenge state following short-term exposure to a challenging situation.”  In other words, resilience in animals is the product of a better adaptability or lower sensitivity to a challenge.

In the following short video Professor Kerstin-Elisabeth Mueller explains the concept with a few very good visual representations.

Definition Resilienz in der Tierhaltung

Benefits of resilient dairy cows for competitive milk production

  •  Resilient dairy cows have a greater chance for increased longevity

The production life span of a dairy cow is an important factor for the profitability of a dairy herd. However, many cows leave the herd early and 40% leave within the first 100 days of lactation.

The reason for short-lived production life spans are often production related diseases. It has been confirmed that the cause of it has more to do with a sub-optimal adaption during the transition period than with high milk yields.

Resilient dairy cows have a higher adaptive capacity, which reduces the risk for them to develop production diseases during the transition period.  Researchers in the Netherlands have been able to detect dairy cows with a higher risk of developing production diseases in the transition period through specific metabolic indicators and sensor technology in advance.

  • Resilient dairy cows can cope better with climate change

It has been shown that there is a need in animal production to be able to adapt to climate change, to ensure stable incomes on farms. Especially high producing dairy cows are more sensitive to high ambient temperatures and are more prone to suffer from heat stress, due to their increased body heat production.

Cows experiencing heat stress produce less milk, lower milk quality and are more susceptible to disease. For those reasons, animal geneticists are trying to find ways to breed dairy cows that are more resilient to high ambient temperatures.

  • Resilient dairy cows require less labour time

A shortage in labour in dairy production increases the need for dairy cows that are easier to care for. Researchers from the Netherlands report that resilient dairy cows require less labour time, because the cows show less problems.  The performance of these cows is more consistent, and they are more likely to maintain their health, which means that cow sensors submit fewer warning signals for animal care workers to attend to the animals. A reduction in time spent on an animal with an alert from sensors will also reduce costs associated with labour

What are the factors influencing resilience in dairy cows?

Resilience in dairy cows is to some extent influenced by her genetic make-up, i.e. breeding. However, external factors such as management practices and nutrition have a far bigger influence on resilience of the cow, explains Professor Mueller in an Anco webinar

Watch this short video to see what Professor Mueller had to say.

resiliente Kühe - Resilienz

Conclusion

The value of resilient dairy cows is increasing, because they provide an opportunity to satisfy trends in consumer demands for animal welfare and at the same time can influence profitability in milk production in a sustainable way.

Automatic milking and feeding systems in combination with new sensor technologies enable the measurement of resilience in the dairy cow and the progress made.

Collaboration between geneticists, veterinarians, animal behaviour researchers, animal nutritionists, ag tech businesses and farmers has the best chance of success for a significant long-term improvement in resilience of dairy cows.

At Anco Animal Nutrition Competence we are contributing to finding solutions to support resilience in dairy cows via nutrition. Ask for Anco FIT products to take the first step for more resilience in dairy cows.

Relevant articles

Resilience – economic value in animal production

Dairy farming resilience – 3 reasons to keep your cows agile

Feeding cows for adaptive capacity in the transition period