Animal Feed Production from Agro-Waste

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Animal feed production from agro-waste involves utilizing agricultural residues and byproducts, such as crop stalks, leaves, and processing waste, as feed for livestock. This approach promotes a circular economy by reducing waste and creating a valuable resource from materials that would otherwise be discarded.

Impact on climate action

Animal Feed Production from Agro-Waste in Agro-Waste Management minimizes methane emissions and land degradation by repurposing agricultural byproducts. By providing an alternative feed source, this innovation reduces pressure on grazing land and deforestation, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, preserving ecosystems, and fostering sustainable agricultural practices, contributing to climate action.


  • Feedstock Selection and Processing: Agro-waste materials need to be carefully selected and processed to ensure their suitability as animal feed. This may involve drying, grinding, pelletizing, or other processing techniques to improve digestibility and nutritional value.
  • Nutritional Analysis and Formulation: The nutritional content of agro-waste materials needs to be analyzed and balanced with other feed ingredients to meet the specific dietary requirements of different livestock species.
  • Feed Additives and Supplements: Enzymes, probiotics, and other feed additives can be used to improve the digestibility and nutritional value of agro-waste-based animal feed.
  • Sustainable Feedstock Sourcing: Agro-waste materials should be sourced from sustainable agricultural practices to minimize environmental impact and ensure long-term availability.

TRL : 6-8 (depending on the specific feedstock and processing technology)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Advanced Processing Technologies: Innovations in processing technologies, such as enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation, are improving the digestibility and nutritional value of agro-waste materials for animal feed.
  • Precision Feeding Systems: Precision feeding systems use sensors and data analytics to monitor animal feed intake and adjust rations based on individual animal needs, optimizing feed efficiency and reducing waste.
  • Insect Farming for Animal Feed: Insects, such as black soldier fly larvae, can be raised on food waste and agricultural byproducts and used as a protein-rich feed ingredient for livestock.
  • Algae-Based Feed Ingredients: Algae can be used as a source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients in animal feed, offering a sustainable alternative to fishmeal and other traditional feed ingredients.
  • Biotechnology for Feed Improvement: Biotechnological approaches, such as genetic engineering and enzyme production, are being used to improve the nutritional value and digestibility of agro-waste-based animal feed.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Sustainable Sourcing Practices
  • Enzymatic Hydrolysis Techniques
  • Precision Feeding Technologies
  • Black Soldier Fly Larvae Farming
  • Algae as Feed Ingredients
  • Genetic Engineering in Feed Improvement
  • Circular Economy Principles
  • Nutritional Analysis and Balancing
  • Sensor-Based Feed Monitoring
  • Insect-Based Protein Sources
  • Advancements in Processing Technologies
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid Enrichment
  • Biotechnological Innovations
  • Alternative Protein Research
  • Sustainable Feedstock Sourcing
  • Enzyme Applications in Feed Production

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. Ynsect:
    • Technology Enhancement: Ynsect specializes in producing animal feed from agro-waste through insect farming, particularly focusing on mealworms. They utilize innovative insect rearing techniques and automated processes to efficiently convert organic waste, such as agricultural by-products, into high-quality protein-rich feed for animals.
    • Uniqueness: Ynsect’s approach stands out for its sustainability and scalability. By harnessing the natural ability of insects to convert organic matter into protein, they offer a sustainable alternative to conventional animal feed production methods that rely heavily on soy and fishmeal. Their technology also addresses the growing demand for alternative protein sources in animal nutrition.
    • End-User Segments: Ynsect serves a diverse range of end-user segments within the animal agriculture industry, including poultry, aquaculture, and pet food manufacturers. Their high-quality insect-based feed products cater to companies looking to improve the sustainability and nutritional profile of their animal feeds.
  2. Protix:
    • Technology Enhancement: Protix specializes in insect-based protein production for animal feed, with a focus on black soldier fly larvae. They have developed advanced insect farming techniques and processing methods to efficiently convert organic waste streams, such as food waste and agricultural by-products, into protein-rich feed ingredients.
    • Uniqueness: Protix’s unique selling point lies in its ability to produce high-quality insect protein at scale while minimizing environmental impact. Their technology not only reduces the reliance on conventional protein sources like soy and fishmeal but also helps mitigate waste by converting organic residues into valuable feed ingredients. Additionally, Protix prioritizes the use of circular economy principles in their production process.
    • End-User Segments: Protix caters to various end-user segments in the animal agriculture industry, including livestock farming, aquaculture, and pet food production. Their insect-based feed ingredients offer a sustainable and nutritionally rich alternative to traditional protein sources, appealing to companies seeking to enhance the sustainability and efficiency of their feed formulations.
  3. Novozymes:
    • Technology Enhancement: Novozymes specializes in enzyme solutions for animal feed production, including enzymes specifically designed to improve the digestibility and nutritional value of feed ingredients derived from agro-waste. Their enzymatic solutions help unlock the potential of raw materials, such as plant fibers and by-products, by breaking down complex carbohydrates and enhancing nutrient availability.
    • Uniqueness: Novozymes’ expertise in enzyme technology enables them to offer customized solutions tailored to the unique requirements of animal nutrition. Their enzymes optimize feed efficiency, reduce waste, and improve animal health and performance, ultimately contributing to sustainable and cost-effective feed production.
    • End-User Segments: Novozymes serves a wide range of end-user segments within the animal agriculture industry, including feed manufacturers, integrators, and livestock producers. Their enzyme solutions address the evolving needs of the industry, such as reducing dependence on conventional protein sources and maximizing the use of agro-waste in feed formulations.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. Wageningen University & Research:
    • Research Focus: Wageningen University & Research is at the forefront of research on Animal Feed Production from Agro-Waste, focusing on developing sustainable and cost-effective methods for converting agricultural residues and by-products into high-quality animal feed ingredients.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the optimization of enzymatic and microbial processes for the bioconversion of lignocellulosic biomass, crop residues, and food waste into nutritionally rich feed components. They also explore innovative pretreatment methods, fermentation technologies, and biorefinery concepts to enhance the digestibility, palatability, and nutritional value of agro-waste-based feeds.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in livestock nutrition, aquaculture, and pet food industries, providing alternative sources of protein, fiber, and micronutrients for various animal species. By valorizing agro-waste streams for feed production, Wageningen’s research contributes to reducing waste, mitigating environmental pollution, and improving resource efficiency in the food and agriculture sector.
  2. University of California, Davis:
    • Research Focus: University of California, Davis conducts innovative research on Animal Feed Production from Agro-Waste, leveraging its expertise in agricultural engineering, animal nutrition, and sustainable bioenergy systems to develop novel approaches for utilizing agricultural residues and co-products in livestock diets.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the evaluation of novel processing technologies, such as extrusion, pelleting, and anaerobic digestion, for transforming agro-waste materials into value-added feed products with enhanced nutritional quality and digestibility. They also investigate the nutritional requirements of different animal species and develop tailored feed formulations to optimize growth performance, feed efficiency, and health outcomes.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in dairy farming, poultry production, and swine nutrition, enabling producers to reduce feed costs, improve animal health, and minimize environmental impacts associated with waste disposal. By promoting the use of agro-waste for feed production, UC Davis’s research supports the sustainability goals of the livestock industry and enhances the competitiveness of agricultural value chains.
  3. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU):
    • Research Focus: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is engaged in innovative research on Animal Feed Production from Agro-Waste, focusing on developing integrated biorefinery systems and circular economy models for valorizing agricultural residues and biomass resources.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the integration of biotechnological, biochemical, and thermochemical conversion processes for the fractionation, purification, and functionalization of agro-waste streams into bioactive compounds, dietary supplements, and feed additives. They also explore the use of insect rearing, fermentation, and algae cultivation for bioconversion and nutrient enrichment of agro-industrial residues.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in ruminant nutrition, fish farming, and sustainable agriculture, offering sustainable alternatives to conventional feed ingredients and contributing to the circular utilization of biomass resources. By developing innovative biorefinery technologies, SLU’s research supports the transition towards a bio-based economy and facilitates the development of eco-efficient solutions for agro-waste management and utilization.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Animal feed production from agro-waste is already being implemented commercially, with several companies offering agro-waste-based feed products and ingredients. For example, Ynsect and Protix are supplying insect-based protein to animal feed manufacturers, while Novozymes provides enzymes to improve the digestibility of agro-waste-based feed.