In the age of global trade, feed resources for animal production might seem endless. However, their large-scale production and transport creates regional nutrient imbalances and contributes to climate change. Land use changes associated with an increasing area of both arable land and grassland reduce the global carbon storage potential. In view of a growing world population and increasing ecological concerns, alternatives and innovations for sustainable animal feeding are needed. In order to secure future food supply, important measures are avoiding nutrient competition between humans and farm animals, and improving the use of regional feed resources, while ensuring a high standard of animal welfare. Many questions arise regarding the challenges of realising a sustainable livestock production. How can organic farming play a role, which puts emphasis on regional production of feedstuffs and partially renounces feed supplements? Can byproducts from the increasing food production for humans be a sustainable solution, when fed to livestock directly or after having been converted by invertebrates or microorganisms? How can grassland be used effectively by poly- and monogastric animals? Can other breeds or species be advantageous, if alternative feeding strategies are implemented?
This issue was published by the Thünen-Institut under former Editor-in-Chief Hans Marten Paulsen.