Solution for steep rise of price

Intermediary between food processing industry and

livestock farmers for facilitating circulation of byproducts

- Case study of Aoyama Trading Firm, Co., Ltd., Aichi Prefecture

Akira Abe

(Ph. D. in Agriculture, President, Mikage-An, Research Institute of Livestock Industry and Feed)

Translator : JAICAF (Japan Association for International Collaboration of Agriculture and Forestry)


  Table of contents

1. Preface
2. Nationwide status of utilization of byproducts of food processing
3. Significance of the utilization of byproducts of food processing as feed and requirements for the utilization.
4. Activities of Aoyama Trading Firm
5. Ogasawara Stock Farm, Nishio City, Aichi Prefecture
6. Shimizu Stock Farm, Koda Town, Aichi Prefecture
7. Concluding remark




The present reporter visited Aoyama Trading Firm, Co., Ltd., in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, with a view to assessing the role of industrial-waste disposal business as a form of distribution of byproducts of food processing. Mr. Taro Aoyama, executive managing director of the company, told the reporter about the company policy by saying at the beginning of the interview "Our firm, since the beginning of its business, has been trading only byproducts of food processing as animal feed, because it is based in Aichi Prefecture which is one of the major thriving dairy farming areas, and where for a long time many farmers have been feeding their cows with byproducts of food processing. Our business policy depends on the concept that we receive the fees for waste disposal from companies discharging wastes and we share the profits with farmers as much as we can." The owner of the Ogasawara Stock Farm, to whom the Aoyama Trading Firm introduced the reporter, and who is running a dairy farm in Nishio City remarked, "In this area, there is a limit for farmers to grow forage crops on their own land. However, there are many things which humans are not able to use but cows can use, and hence I run my business by identifying the significance of dairy farming in this context. In other words, domestic animals are livestock animals which enable us to exploit, for producing animal products, the byproducts of food processing that we, human beings, are not able to eat. I find the meaning of dairy farming in the possibility of effective utilization of such value."

Mr. Tadashi Shimizu in Koda City, while being aged 70, is a cheerful farmer with good humor raising F1 cattle for fattening. He told the reporter, standing with his arms crossed and his cattle barn in the background, saying "Cattle rearing should be practiced by feeding them with what humans are not able to eat. There is no fun if one practices it simply by buying ready mixed formula feed and feeding the cattle mechanically through automatic feeding equipment. I collect diverse kinds of feed materials, mix them, and feed the cattle while watching carefully the conditions of animals such as the color of dung. My pleasure comes from the profit gained through such efforts."

This region has been traditionally called "Mikawa Province" (three-river country), where the patriarch of Tokugawa shogunate originated, and people, descendants of those who fostered it, seem to have unique mentality.



Nationwide status of utilization of byproducts of food processing


Table 1 presents different types of byproducts of food processing and their rate of recycling in the country. The quantity of their generation amounts to around 4.9 million to less than 5.0 million tons annually. The rate of their utilization for animal feed increased in 2005 and 2006 compared with that in 2004, amounting to 38 % in 2006. However, the rate of unutilized byproducts is about 24 %, suggesting that the quantity of potentially available resources is about 1.19 million tons.

Dehydrated products such as oil meal and bran are recycled at a high rate, but conversely the utilization rate of materials with high moisture contents is reportedly lower in general.Efforts for conversion of byproducts into feed would be more appropriately focused mainly on this aspect.

What are the reactions of users about these byproducts? Feed Supply Stabilization Organization has conducted a survey by questionnaire targeting processors of formula feed on the utilization of byproducts of food processing (particularly food residues). The factors raised as issues in the survey result included: "securing of a certain volume and stable supply"; "securing safety"; "stability of quality"; "stability in nutrient composition"; "traceability"; "appropriate prices"; "transformation into final products at the site of generation", etc. ("Toward the utilization of food residues as feed-Manual of utilization for feed (2008 Edition)-", the National Council of Action for Conversion of Food Residues into Feed/ Feed Supply Stabilization Organization, February 2008).

The challenges in the future as well as in the past with regard to this issue concern the question, "Who in what manner takes charge of collection, preservation without quality deterioration, and transportation and delivery to livestock farmers, of under-utilized materials that are not discharged at a single site, in a great quantity, in a stable manner, and in a form convenient for handling (dried product)?", or in other words, "Who serves as intermediary between actors in food processing industry and livestock farmers in the distribution of materials (feed)?".


Table 1 Quantity of generation and rate of recycling of byproducts of food processing and different types of them
(unit: 1,000 t, %)
Year Quantity of generation Utilization as fertilizer Utilization as feed Methane Oil Non recycled
2006 4,947 34 38 1 3 24
2005 4,946 37 37 1 3 24
2004 4,898 36 27 0 2 35
[Byproducts of food processing]
Rice bran (defatted bran, crude rice bran), barley bran, soybean skin, oilcake, wheat bran, tofu lees, starch cake, soy sauce lees, brewer’s grains, sake-cake, sweet cooking rice wine lees, vinegar lees, shochu lees, corn gluten feed, whiskey lees, wine lees, bread crumbs, cake crumbs, noodle crumbs, tea refuse, corn-stave liquor, mandarin orange peel, mandarin orange juice pulp, apple juice pulp, soy milk pulp, pineapple pulp, pasta flour, waste wheat flour, nonstandard cereals, nonstandard vegetables, bean sprout refuse, etc.
"Toward the utilization of food residues as feed -Manual of utilization for feed (2008 Edition)-", Feed Supply Stabilization Organization



3. Significance of the utilization of byproducts of food processing as feed and requirements for the utilization



Issues for dairy farming, particularly for that in areas outside Hokkaido (big territory of northernmost island)

The maize price at the Chicago commodity market that used to remain at 2.0-2.5 dollars per bushel (25.4 kg) during the period from January to October 2006 began to rise from the end of 2006, going up to $ 5 range in March 2008, $ 6 in April, and $ 7.03 on 10th July, which drove up the prices of formula feed in Japan and gave rise to the "animal husbandry crisis".

What could have been the actual impact on livestock farmers?Table 2 shows the result of studies carried out by the reporter and his partners. This table is based on the data collected in the summer of 2004 from 6 dairy farms in Ibaragi Prefecture where the reporter then holding a chair in Nihon University conducted a quantitative study concerning the amount of feed fed to lactating cows and milk production, assisted by students of the laboratory. Comparison has been made between the estimated feed cost in the summer of 2004 and that in the summer of 2008, by assuming that the same amount and quality of feed materials that were fed to the tested dairy herd in 2004 are also fed in 2008 to the dairy herd of the same number of cows with the same level of milk production, so that the impact of elevated feed prices on dairy farming may be assessed quantitatively.Due to the price rise of feed, the feeding cost has increased by about ¥ 9,300 per day, namely about ¥ 280,000 monthly.

The feeding system of this farm F is characterized by the use of the tofu lees (bean curd lees or soy pulp). The tofu lees are fed to cattle with a dose of 0.7-1.0 kg in DM per day. It can be assumed that the TDN of formula feed equivalent to that amount is replaced by the TDN of the tofu lees. According to the calculation based on the price differential between the two kinds of feed, an amount of approximately ¥ 2,400 is supposed to be saved in the daily feeding cost. Likewise, the utilization of cheap byproducts of food processing enables the reduction of financial load in running business.

There is another factor needing consideration. It is the high rate of dependency on imported hay products in the case of dairy farming in provinces of Japan outside Hokkaido. As shown in Table 2, the proportion of expense for hay products to total feeding cost for F farm is comparatively high, accounting for 39 %, which does not constitute an element eligible for price subsidies like the cost for formula feed.There lies the Achilles heel of dairy farming in provinces outside Hokkaido.


Table 2 Comparison of feed cost for F farm (33 lactating cows) in Ibaragi Prefecture between the summer of 2004 and that of 2008


Amount fed


Unit price of feed ¥/kg

Amount spent¥/day





Timothy hay






Oat hay






Alfalfa hay






Beet pulp






Tofu lees






Formula feed A






Formula feed B









Selling price of milk produced on the day of testing cow herd ¥ 80,963
Difference in feeding cost between 2004 and 2008¥ 9,287/day
Proportion of expense for imported hay products to total feeding cost39 %
Proportion of expense for formula feed to total feeding cost44 %

Feed/milk ratio in 200433.4 %
Feed/milk ratio in 200844.9 %

(Source: Abe, Niwa and Tanemura, 2008)


2)Shift to the realization of best mix of feed and requirements for it


The crisis and disturbance caused by the price rise of imported maize since the latter half of 2006 could be attributed largely to the fact that the uniform and homogeneous structure of feeding used to prevail in animal husbandry in Japan. If one looks at the problem by referring to dairy farming, one can recognize a different situation that existed before 1975 where each locality had established its own feed structure adapted to the particularity of the region it belongs to, and hence there were found diverse types of dairy farming including that of paddy field zone, that of upland cultivation zone, that based on grazing, that based on grassland, that in urban areas based on byproducts of food processing, etc. However, after the Nixon Shock, under the circumstances where the grain maize imported from the U. S. A. had become available cheaply and stably, the dairy farming of a uniform type had been developed and disseminated throughout the country, in which the standard feed menu consisted of the combination of maize grains, soybean cake, imported beet pulp, imported long hay products like timothy hay, and imported alfalfa cubes. The situation could be compared, in terms of human food, to the extension and stabilization of menus of franchised chain restaurants.

The steep rise of main ingredients of the established menu immediately affected uniformly the management of livestock farmers in the whole country, causing the results similar to the example of Table 2. The menu structure of franchised chain restaurants lacks the capacity for buffering. All actors collapse together in concert as a result of the steep rise of imported feed prices. Augmentation of self-sufficiency rate of feed signifies the construction of resilient feed structure with buffering capacity. In terms of menu, it concerns the realization of best mix.

The concept of realization of best mix could be easily understood if we apply the term to the domain of energy. It is a strategy through which we try to conserve the energy resources while taking account of environment, by diversifying energy sources ranging from petroleum to atomic power, wind power, geothermal heat, natural gas, bio-ethanol, and vegetable fat and oil fuel. The rise of maize price from the latter half of 2006 derived from the best mix strategy of US government by the enactment of "New Energy Act".

The realization of best mix of feed is a strategy by which a resilient feed structure with high buffering capacity is to be built by lowering the dependency on imported cereals and imported hay products. Its tactics include the strengthening of capacity for producing self-sufficient forage and the search and utilization of highly nutritious materials starting with byproducts of food processing.

An example of realization of best mix based on self-sufficient forage and byproducts of food processing is shown in Table 3.


Table 3 Result of test on fattening of Japanese black cattle steers by feeding mainly the tofu lees and maize silage

  Group fed with the tofu lees Group fed with plenty of cereals

Ingredients of TMR (total mixed ration), late phase of fattening,
Rate of crude ingredient (%)

Maize grain
Wheat bran
Salt and minerals
Tofu lees
Maize silage
Soy bean stalks/pods
Wheat stalks
Rice stalks

Chemical composition of TMR, percentage of dry matter

Crude protein
Crude fat

Result of feeding

Dry matter intake(kg/day)
Initial live weight(kg)
Final live weight(kg)
Daily weight gain
(entire period)(kg)
Carcass characteristics
Carcass weight(kg)
Rib eye area(cm2)
Rated grade
Carcass price, average of 5 heads,
(¥ 10,000)
A-5,A-4( 3 heads ),
A-4 (2 heads), A-3,
Animal Husbandry Center of Shiga Prefecture. National Institute of Livestock Science. Carcass price is that of Tokyo Meat Market, June 5th, 2008)

These test data constitute one of the results of a research project implemented during the period from 1989 to 1993 and called "Development of low-cost technology for beef production by means of total mixed ration with new ingredients utilizing byproducts of food processing and locally available forage resources", in which feeding trials were carried out on fattening of beef cattle (fattening trials). In December 1993 an agreement was established essentially in the international negotiation on rules of trading agricultural products, so-called Uruguay Round of GATT, in which Japan accepted the policy of tariff reduction, pledging that "the tariff on imported beef shall be reduced gradually from the current rate of 50 % to 38.5 % over the next 6 years’ period".

This research project was implemented, while watching apprehensively the progress of the GATT negotiation, with a view to developing technology for producing beef at lower cost within the country and to disseminating the developed technology to beef cattle farmers.

The objective of test concerning Table 3 was to identify an appropriate feeding method that would enable the production of a larger quantity of dressed carcasses of a highly rated grade while reducing the feeding cost by replacing a portion of feed in the traditional feeding system for fattening, consisting of maize grains and barley, with that containing maize silage and tofu lees.

The test results demonstrated that, compared with the group of steers treated with the traditional feed based on a large quantity of cereals, the group of those treated with the tofu lees (best mix group) consumed a larger quantity of feed, yielded heavier live weight at slaughtering and heavier carcass weight, and recorded higher index numbers of marbling in rib eye, which resulted in a great difference in the carcass price between treatments.

In terms of both feeding cost and carcass yield, the group of steers on best mix showed an excellent performance. Regarding the reason for it, members of our study team at that time consisting of the staff of Animal Husbandry Center of Shiga Prefecture and those of the National Institute of Livestock Science (Tsukuba) discussed several hypotheses based on properties of gastric juice in rumen, blood properties, and moreover on the fatty acid composition of rib eye, and arrived at pointing out the following factors as possible causes for the higher performance in the group of best mix : 1) the feed for the best mix group was more palatable; 2) the rate of acetic acid generation in rumen was higher in the best mix group, because of a higher energy content of the tofu lees, and particularly due to a higher rate of digestion of total fiber;

3) the high fat content of the tofu lees contributed to the enhancement of effect for replacing starch energy in cereals and to the fat accumulation; 4) the starch in grains in whole-crop maize silage could effectively replace maize starch in the cereals for the control group.

This study has clearly shown us that the starch of imported cereals can be replaced with locally available resources by applying the knowledge on nutritional science and by utilizing relevant information.

Then, what would be the requirements for extending the strategy of best mix on a national scale? In context of the subject of this report, i. e., byproducts of food processing, the answers would be as follows:
(1) It is necessary to classify the information concerning the availability of different types of byproduct of food processing industry generated in each of specific regions in the whole country.
(2) It is necessary to establish the route for distributing generated byproducts to livestock farmers. As possible models of distribution, one may be able to envisage several cases, including: 1) byproducts of food processing are directly taken by livestock farmers for a price; 2) byproducts of food processing are collected by operators of industrial waste disposal and further processed into products for distribution to livestock farmers; and 3) byproducts of food processing are acquired for a price by feed preparation enterprises such as formula feed manufacturers or TMR centers, processed and supplied to livestock farmers. We wish that various types of business operation would coexist together and that diverse forms of activities for distribution, processing and supply to final users would be established in a sustainable manner throughout the country.


In order to manage the health of animal satisfactorily and yield animal products of high quality with high efficiency by utilizing byproducts of food processing, it is necessary to pursue the following steps, and in actual practice, it is essential to enlist the collaboration and cooperation of local people acting in different sectors of business. Those steps include: 1) verification of availability and safety of materials, such as estimation of available quantity, assessment of refuge separation and their safety, evaluation of seasonal productivity; 2) evaluation of quantity of fundamental nutrients;3) screening tests like the palatability determination tests using a small animals; 4) collection of detailed data on feed properties that are required for formulation of feeding programs; 5) formulation of feeding programs; 6) execution of trials on lactation or fattening by using animals; 7) comprehensive evaluation including the on-farm assessment of economic effect.

The above describes the requirements for the realization of strategy of best mix of feed. This report is intended to present actual cases of an intermediary role linking livestock farmers with enterprises generating byproducts of food processing, through describing economic activities of Aoyama Trading Firm, Ltd., in Aichi Prefecture.

4. Economic activities of Aoyama Trading Firm


Initiation and principles of business
The present business started the operation in 1955 by the job of disposal of the shochu (liquor of cereals) lees released from a shochu distilling factory. It is business of industrial waste disposal operating an intermediate treatment plant (residues consisting of sludge, animal and vegetable materials, mixtures). Two brothers, Mr. Taro Aoyama and Mr. Jiro Aoyama, have inherited the limited company initiated by their father, and are now running it together with 10 employees who used to work also for their father. Business principles that could be called company credo are manifested to customers in the following statement:

Dear our loyal customers, we would like to ask for your kind cooperation in our business through understanding about the principles of Aoyama Trading Firm as described below:

The life of Japanese people has become very much affluent. Hidden behind it, there is also another aspect of life going on in the midst of "garbage war".

While animals and plants on the earth live among systems of material cycle, only human being that is a part of them lives outside the systems.

Our goal is the harmony among human life, agriculture, animal husbandry, and nature. Unless the human life is sustained among cycles of organic matter through recycling of all kinds of resources, the next generation of people in years to come will have to live on mounds of garbage.

In order to avoid the development of such circumstances, we are making the utmost effort for facilitating the recycling of organic matter for agriculture (as fertilizer) and animal husbandry (as feed). Your understanding and cooperation is earnestly requested.

Aoyama Trading Firm, Co., Ltd., Okazaki City


2) Collection of byproducts of food processing
  Types of byproducts of food processing handled by Aoyama Trading Firm are presented in Table 4.In addition to these articles, formerly it handled sometimes also corn gluten feed released from a maize starch factory and potato skin and cut refuse released from a factory of potato confectionery.


Table 4 Types of byproducts of food processing handled by Aoyama Trading Firm

Tofu lees, soy sauce lees, spent malt, sweet cooking rice wine lees, sake-cake, brewer’s grains, soy milk pulp, starch (waste from broken bags of imported starch), wheat flour (flour from washed processing lines), potato crisps, banana, pumpkin, carrot, Chinese yam, buckwheat flour (washed flour from processing lines), waste wheat, waste bean, wet beet pulp, waste starch, corncob (imported from Indonesia)

Tanks containing the soy sauce lees


  The main products are the tofu lees and the soy sauce lees. Regarding the tofu lees, they are collected from 12 factories, 11 in Aichi Prefecture and one in Chiba Prefecture. The tofu lees from Chiba prefecture are shipped to dairy farmers in Tochigi Prefecture. In Aichi Prefecture, flexible container bags are deposited in each factory and the factory is asked to preserve the tofu lees in them under tight seal to be collected eventually by "Tokai-Shoun", a subsidiary trucking firm. Monthly collection volume is about 250-300 tons. As to the soy sauce lees, they are collected from 13 factories scattered in the regions between Aomori Prefecture and Hyogo Prefecture, with the monthly collection volume of 450-500 tons. The product of the third largest volume after the tofu lees and the soy sauce lees is the sweet cooking rice wine lees which are collected within Aichi Prefecture and from neighboring areas of Tokyo (Kanto District). The points for routine care and the recent situation concerning collection are described by the comments made in the interview as cited below:
(1) "We ask tofu manufacturers, "Please make sure to fill the flexible container bag with the product densely enough to exclude air before sealing it tightly and hermetically." In the beginning, sometimes they found it difficult to follow the instruction and the product quality deteriorated, but gradually they got used to correct procedures and nowadays we are able to collect products with stable quality."
(2) "Tofu manufacturing sector also is facing difficulties in running business due to adverse conditions such as price rise of soybean, and some manufacturers have shut down their operation. Formerly they paid us for collection as fees for disposal, but now they are strongly asking us, "Could you pay us the price by all means?" The trend on national level is also very delicate and from now on the business rule will change "from free product (without disposal fees) to chargeable merchandise"".
(3) Regarding the soy sauce lees, disposal fees are received if they are in bulk, but if they are packaged in flexible container bags of 600 kg capacity, they are merchandise with price which used to be about ¥ 1-6 per kg a little while ago but now has been raised to ¥ 4-6 per kg for pickup at the factory, influenced by the rise of feed prices."
(4) "In Hokkaido we have to compete with other actors for acquiring waste wheat and waste bean (non-standard products), starch pulp, and wet beet pulp."
(5) "The Flexible container bag is an expensive article costing about ¥ 1,500, but we can use it only about twice, and it causes us a rather heavy financial burden."



3) Treatment and processing of collected byproducts and marketing of products

Regarding the processing of collected byproducts, they are treated by different methods in the intermediate treatment plant owned by the firm according to the types of material. In the case of the tofu lees, they are either (1) treated by lactate fermentation without other ingredients, or (2) mixed by the mixer-feeder in the plant with wheat bran and molasses to make TMR silage of mixtures. After treatment the products are shipped out for delivery to livestock farmers in the package of flexible container bag of 700 kg capacity.

Flexible container bag for packing processed products



  As buyers of processed products, dairy farmers are the most numerous consumers, followed by fattening cattle farmers, but few farmers with swine and chickens buy the products. The firm sells corncobs (rachis of maize ear) to factories of formula feed. Buyers are distributed all over the country from Hokkaido (northernmost big island) to Kyushu (southernmost big island), and the number of client farmers, though variable, is about 250. They are most numerous in Hokkaido, numbering to 100, and mostly located in Tokachi, Kon-Sen (Nemuro-Kushiro), and Abashiri, but there are a certain number of client livestock farmers also in the central and southern parts of Hokkaido, including Furano and Hayakita (the supply to TMR centers will be described later). The transport of products is entrusted to a number of trucking firms. The transport charge is ¥ 2.5 per kilogram for delivery within Aichi Prefecture but varies for delivery over long distances, amounting to ¥ 11-12 per kilogram for destinations in Hokkaido.The following quotations of talks describe how the business is running daily, including some trade anecdotes
(1) "The business expansion to Hokkaido was initiated taking the opportunity of moving out of a client dairy farmer in Mie Prefecture to Hokkaido. Sales activities were carried out while living in a hotel at first, starting with our old client farmer from Mie. In the meantime, a sales office was established in Teshikaga in 1995."
(2) "For a client dairy farmer in Tokachi-Shimizu, we employ a 20 tons truck trailer to convey 30 flexible container bags of 700 kg capacity, taking 4-5 days for arriving there from Okazaki."
(3) "In recent years, the number of client farmers is on the increase. Moreover, existing clients are demanding us the augmentation of supply."
(4) "The adjustment of supply to farmers is carried out by the initiative of Aoyama Trading Firm. We work out the shipment plan according to the amount of consumption by destination farmers. In the cases of Hokkaido, the ample vacant grounds surrounding cattle barns of clients can provide storage areas, because the products are those of lactic fermentation permitting preservation for a relatively long period. Therefore, during the period of abundant production, it is possible to ship out products in a large quantity. However, in the cases of farms in areas outside Hokkaido, the situation is different, requiring multiple shipments of small lots, and we have to make an effort "never to have our clients run out of stock"."
(5) "Although it is difficult to meet rapidly the demand for boosting supply, we are trying to increase the number of food processing enterprises trading with us. From now on, the soy sauce lees and the sweet cooking rice wine lees need payment of a price, but we intend to increase the quantity of their processing. We are asking our client farmers for their understanding and cooperation by explaining the current situation of supply and demand with the soy sauce lees and the tofu lees."
(6) Under the current circumstances of the steep rise of feed prices, farmers want to get byproducts of food processing, and the present state of things makes us think deeply. Now we are able to realize: "Here comes the age when people have come to recognize the value of byproducts of food processing. The world has come to look to them." In Hokkaido until several years ago when our sales staff visited farmers, 9 farmers out of 10 turned them away immediately, curtly saying "That sort of thing isn’t feed". "In seeking consolation", they took refuge in rare cases of farmers who admitted the value of the goods by saying "People are wrong. That is important and good feed." The situation is reversed now and farmers are competing among themselves for the acquisition of the goods. They say "Even if they cost me a little bit more, please give me them by all means."
(7) "However, we cannot completely dismiss the anxiety about the possibility that the circumstances might revert to the former state. That is precisely the reason why we value our existing customers more than ever. We will not dare raise prices simply because the situation is like this. However, we are a little bit in a fix, since the situation about acquisition of materials has changed from "receiving disposal fees" to "collection without fees" then to "collection by paying a price", and because the competition for collection tends to raise the price level."
4) Supply to TMR centers

At present in the country, the structure of feed supply to dairy farmers is changing, though it is doing so gradually. That means the establishment of TMR centers and the augmentation of cases of shipment and supply of TMR products to dairy farmers. Although the number of TRM centers in the country was 34 in 2003, it increased to 49 in 2005, and particularly the increase in Hokkaido was remarkable (7 in 2005 to 20 in 2007).

Aoyama Trading Firm supplies mainly the soy sauce lees to TMR centers in Hokkaido (Nakashibetu, Tsurui, Akan), and also sake-cake, the starch of broken packages, and the spent malt to certain centers.

Seeing from the information volume and the capacity for action, the role of operators of intermediate processing business for supplying byproducts of food processing to TMR centers, the number of which is anticipated to increase in the future as well, would become more important. In this context, Mr. Aoyama describes the current state and the issues as follows:

"In certain circumstances, we are not able to supply the ordered quantity adequately, because the volume of demand is very great. In order to avoid such eventuality, we also ask other traders for the supply, and TMR centers also understand well the situation. Furthermore, because the soy sauce lees can endure the preservation for a long period, the centers make it a rule to allow us to ship out the cargo in advance, whenever on the contrary a large quantity is produced."
5) Participation in and cooperation with research and development

In Hokkaido, a specific NPO, Council for Environment, Recycling and Beef Cattle, is carrying out studies on the techniques for utilization of feed derived from byproducts, to provide the information to farmers raising fattening cattle in the prefecture. The organizations in charge of actual experiments and studies are Obihiro University of Agriculture & Veterinary Medicine and Hokkaido Animal Research Center. In 2003, the university and the research center conducted various tests by using the silage supplied by Aoyama Trading Firm containing potato skins as the main ingredient. The composition of the silage and the results of fattening tests using dairy steers are shown in Table 5 and Table 6 respectively (Agricycle, Vol. 3, published by Council for Environment, Recycling and Beef Cattle, 2004).At the end of his report, Mr. Yukinobu Sato of Hokkaido Animal Research Center who took charge of the fattening tests states his views as follows:

"Since it has been demonstrated that the daily gain of body weight of the group of steers on feed containing 20 % of nutrients derived from potato skin silage is similar to that of the control group and that the meat quality of the former is almost equal or slightly superior to that of the latter, we have concluded that the fattening method in which 20 % of TDN of formula feed is replaced by the potato skin silage is appropriate. By this method, by feeding 1.8 tons of potato skin silage, about 0.6 tons of formula feed were saved."



Table 5 Composition of ingredients of potato skin silage


Raw material

Content rate (% of original matter)

Potato skin and cut refuse


Dried starch cake




Miscellaneous beans


Waste wheat


Beet pulp


Dried soy milk pulp



(Source: Sato, Hokkaido Animal Research Center, 2004)


Table 6 Results of fattening tests with dairy steers by feeding potato skin silage

  Control group Group with 20 % of TDN by silage Group with 30 % of TDN by silage
Result of fattening test
   Initial body weight(kg)
   Body weight at shipping(kg)
   Daily weight gain (over entire
fattening period)(kg)
Feed intake (original matter in
kg per head)
   Formula feed
   Potato skin silage
Carcass characteristics
   Carcass weight(kg)
   Rib eye area(cm2)
   Rib thickness(cm)
Rib eye constituents
   Red meat(%)
(Source: Sato, Hokkaido Animal Research Center, 2004)


5. Ogasawara Stock Farm, Nishio City, Aichi Prefecture
  The present reporter visited the Ogasawara Stock Farm running a dairy farming by utilizing the products of Aoyama Trading Firm.
1) Outline of farming operation

Mr. Masahide Ogasawara, 52 years old, is the owner of a dairy farm with the professional experience of 30 years. He is running his dairy farm of corporate entity of limited company, employing 3 permanent workers, 6 temporary ones and foreign trainees, drawing milk 3 times a day.As can be observed from the results of herd testing in May 2008 (Table 7), the farm is a large-scale farming entity in possession of herds of dairy cows with high lactating capacity.

Cow sheds are of loose housing type (free-stall barn), separately housing 4 herds, A-D. Barn A is for cows older than 2 years, B for first calving cows, C for sick cows under medical treatment, and D for cows on 7th-10th day after calving. As feed, a type of TMR is prepared and fed to all herds. For cows of herds C and D, timothy hay is additionally fed ad libitum. Formulation of feeding plans is entrusted entirely to Dr. Ysunori Suzuki, veterinarian at Akabane Clinic.

Table 7 Results of herd testing at Ogasawara Stock Farm (May 2008)

Number of delivered cows: 244 headsNumber of lactating cows: 216Shipping volume of milk: 7,000 kg/dayVolume of milk per head of lactating cow: 32.2 kgMilk production per head of delivered cow during the preceding one year: 10,533 kg
2) Utilization of byproducts of food processing

Then, how are the dairy cows of such a large-scale herd with so high lactating capacity utilizing byproducts of food processing? Mr. Ogasawara told the reporter about several facts as follows:

(1) "We prepare TMR twice a day, making 5 tons at a time and 10 tons of TMR daily".

(2) "The byproducts of food processing we use daily consist of 1 ton of tofu lees (700 kg from Aoyama Trading Firm and 300 kg from tofu makers), 350 kg of spent malt, and 100 kg of miso (fermented soybean paste) (products of expired best-before date, intended as supplements for amino acids). In other words, the original matter of TMR of 10 tons contains 14.5 % of byproducts of food processing and similar materials."

(3) "We have been using the tofu lees since the days of my father. In 1987 when the transaction standard of milk was revised (milk fat percentage changed from 3.2 % to 3.5 %), most of dairy farmers in the neighborhood quitted feeding tofu lees. As a consequence of it, the tofu lees became surplus stuff and the price went down to almost nothing. At that time, we had been already producing TMR that used the tofu lees as an ingredient. Because we made an effort for quality control (prevention of deterioration) and for the maintenance of normalization of fermentation in rumen, we were able to continue to use the tofu lees. The lees are a suitable material for the purpose of preparing TMR with a moisture content at around 50 % which is deemed to be the optimum level. The tofu lees also assure good palatability of products."

(4) "The primary advantage of the tofu lees is their low price. Although it is laborious to handle the lees, they have the value high enough to compensate and exceed the drawback. The price of the silage of tofu lees supplied by Aoyama Trading Firm is cheap at ¥ 1.3 per kilogram of original matter. If it is converted to the value per unit dry matter by assuming the moisture content of 80 %, the price is calculated to be about ¥ 6 per kg DM. The TDN content of the dry matter of tofu lees is 90.5 %, exceeding the value of formula feed. Although the price we pay for purchasing formula feed is relatively low because we buy it in bulk, it still has risen from the former level of ¥ 30/kg to ¥ 55/kg, and prices of hay of grasses also have risen from ¥ 35-40 to ¥ 45-50. Under such circumstances, the utilization of byproducts of food processing is in a way contributing to the stabilization of our business operation."
3) Collaboration between crop cultivation and animal husbandry

Nishio City is situated in a rice growing zone, and with respect to collaboration between rice growers and dairy farmers including him, Mr. Ogasawara told the reporter about instances of effort as follows:

"The cultivation of paddy fields is carried out by a group of machinery operators under schemes of contract for operations in which a single contactor takes over field operations for an area from 20 ha to 40 ha, and hence is unable to allocate time for spreading the compost produced by dairy farmers. However, rice growers felt the urgent strategic need for growing a particular type of rice that could become a local specialty. Consequently, they have launched a project for producing specially grown rice by limiting the application of agricultural chemicals and chemical fertilizers, in which 17 dairy farmers in Nishio City have taken charge of production and application of compost, while the municipal government provides financial assistance. Such a project organization has enabled the production of specially grown rice without causing too much work load on machinery operators, and thus the project is currently going on smoothly.The agricultural cooperative in its facilities of country grain elevator processes the specially grown rice separately apart from ordinary rice, and has given it a special patented brand name. From now on, we plan to include this rice also in the menu of school lunch as an instruction material for food and agriculture education. My farm participates also in the project of Dairy Farming Education Farm, in which children are surprised by the contact with freshly drawn cow’s milk, saying "Milk is something so warm!" Since they know only the milk cooled in refrigerators, they suppose that milk is something cold. Food and agriculture education is important. Furthermore, by selling rice straw harvested from paddy fields to cattle fattening farmers, and buying hay with the income, the benefit of collaboration between crop cultivation and animal husbandry is provided for dairy farmers."
4) Goal
  Mr. Ogasawara has so far focused his efforts aiming at earning the income of 20 million yens from the sales total of 200 million yens by raising 200 heads of cattle. However, under the current circumstances in which the terms of various debts are drawing on, and with a large workforce to employ, he considers it necessary to aim to expand his operation to earn the income of 30 million yens from the sales total of 300 million yens by raising 300 heads of cattle. The reporter believes that he continues to make an intense effort in facing with diverse challenges such as "communication with employees to share the sense of purpose", "thoughtful consideration for consumers", "adjustment of milk price for fair profit under the environment in which mass retailers are gaining market power", "Contribution to the dairy farming promoting the recycling of resources and materials".
6. Shimizu Stock Farm, Koda Town, Aichi Prefecture

The last destination to visit in the current survey has been the beef cattle farm of Mr. Kazumasa Shimizu, 70 years old. When he was 45 years old, he changed his occupation from the job in a meat center to the present one, doing business of rearing and fattening cattle. As mentioned in the preface, he is a cheerful person with good humor.

At present, he raises 100 heads of F1 heifers and 50 heads of steers of Holstein or breeds other than F1. Calves are purchased in the market of Okazaki for a price of around ¥ 50-60. The cattle are shipped out at the age of 26 months, and most of them are said to have body weight of about 670-680 kg, and produce carcasses with weight of 400 kg and rated grade of B-2.

The byproducts of food processing used by the farm are diverse, including tofu lees (500-600 kg per day), bread crumbs, fragments of potato crisp, crude bran of barley, broken beans, damaged maize, and wheat flour (flour from washed processing lines). In addition to them, the farm purchases roll-pressed barley, blended maize of 2 varieties, and soybean cake as ingredients of formula feed, and mix them together by the mixing machine installed at the entrance of cattle barn. As roughage, the farm feed imported straw hay.

Mr. Shimizu used to work out feeding recipes with a calculator in hand, and while experiencing difficulties such as those with the generation of gas in rumen causing bloating, and while the available materials are varying from time to time, he has managed to establish his own system of feeding, and evidently now is enjoying the life of cattleman, guided by the philosophy as described in the preface.
7. Concluding remark
  As a consequence of the steep rise of maize price since the latter half of 2006, people began to pay close attention to the byproducts of food processing industry. However, until then they used to be inconspicuous marginal forage resources. People in the trade who recognized them as resources were not necessarily many. Under such circumstances, several enterprises including Aoyama Trading Firm have been promoting with unremitting efforts the utilization of byproducts of food processing for livestock production. The reporter would like to consider that a line of those efforts has been inherited in the forage policy of the government, "Ecofeed".
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