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Author(s): Beltranena, E.B.
Publication Date: November 21, 2012
Reference: Swine Innovation Porc
Country: Canada


When feed exceeds 72% of pork production cost, it forces us to explore ways to reduce feed costs beyond desperation. Recent work funded through the Canola Cluster led by Eduardo Beltranena at Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development explored opportunities for reducing feed cost feeding conventional solvent-extracted canola meal at unusually high inclusions. “We went beyond producers’ comfort level” says Beltranena.

In the past, canola meal was fed at conservative levels due to palatability issues that reduced feed intake. Over the last 30 years plant breeders have bred canola varieties containing progressively lower levels of glucosinolates. Canola meal produced today typically tests 5 to 6 instead of 30 µmol/g before that was the threshold to call it ‘canola’ instead of ‘rapeseed’. “We have tested loads as low as 2” says Eduardo. “The bitter taste imparted by glucosinolates is no longer a palatability concern even at today’s high canola meal inclusion in pig and poultry diets”.

The other issue feeding canola meal to pigs is a relative high fibre content that limits its dietary energy value. “We now formulate diets on net energy instead of metabolizable or digestible energy basis. We better account now for the increase in heat production resulting from feeding increasing inclusion of high protein, high fibrous feedstuffs like canola meal, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) or millrun. We blamed the ingredient instead of the energy system before for the drop in growth performance due to incremental inclusions. Now formulating diets on net energy basis results in more predictable growth”. We have proven so in 3 recent studies feeding high inclusions of solvent-extracted canola meal:

In the first study, we fed increasing inclusions of canola meal in substitution for soybean meal to weaned pigs. Feeding up to 20% canola meal did not affect daily feed disappearance, weight gain, and final trial pig weight. Weaned pigs showed a tendency for reduced feed efficiency due to increasing fibre content.

A second experiment involving 1,100 hogs examined increasing inclusion of canola meal (0 – 24%) in growout diets containing 15% DDGS. Hogs fed 24% canola meal reached market weight only 3 days later than controls, with no impact on carcass weight, dressing percent, backfat, loin depth, pork yield or index.

A third commercial-scale trial with 1,100 hogs pushed canola meal inclusion further to 30% with 20% DDGS. Feed disappearance and weigh gain were reduced by 81 g/day and 9 g/day for every 10% increase in canola meal inclusion. Number of days to market weight increased by 1, carcass weight was reduced by 0.46kg, dressing percent dropped 0.4 points, and loin depth was reduced by 0.5 mm for every 10% increase in canola meal inclusion. However, hogs consumed up to 50% local coproducts instead of imported soybean meal without major reductions on hog growth performance or carcass traits.

Benefit to the Producer

It is thus feasible feeding up to 20% solvent-extracted canola meal to weaned pigs and 30% with 20% wheat DDGS in commercial hog diets formulated on net energy and digestible amino acid basis. Canola and DDGS inclusion rates will fluctuate with commodity cost and should be routinely optimized by least cost formulation. Feeding these fibrous coproducts increases gut weight at evisceration. Producers thus need to market hogs 1 – 2kg heavier live weight to achieve target carcass weight.

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