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Reducing Feed Costs with Canola Meal

20 November 2012

Canadian Pork Council

When feed exceeds 72 per cent of pork production cost, it forces us to explore ways to reduce feed costs beyond desperation. Recent work funded through the Canola Cluster explored opportunities for reducing feed cost by feeding conventional solvent-extracted canola meal at unusually high inclusion levels.

"We went beyond producers' comfort level," said Dr Eduardo Beltranena of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, who led the research, according to a report from Swine Innovation Porc.

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 five to six instead of 30µmol per gramme before that was the threshold to call it 'canola' instead of 'rapeseed'.

"We have tested loads as low as 2," added Dr Beltranena. "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 issued 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 mill-run. 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."

This has been proven in three recent studies feeding high inclusions of solvent-extracted canola meal.

In the first study, increasing inclusions of canola meal were fed in substitution for soybean meal to weaned pigs. Feeding up to 20 per cent 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 to 24 per cent) in grow-out diets containing 15 per cent DDGS. Hogs fed 24 per cent canola meal reached market weight only three 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 per cent with 20 per cent DDGS. Feed disappearance and weigh gain were reduced by 81g per day and 9g per day for every 10 per cent increase in canola meal inclusion. Number of days to market weight increased by one, carcass weight was reduced by 0.46kg, dressing percentage dropped 0.4 points and loin depth was reduced by 0.5mm for every 10 per cent increase in canola meal inclusion. However, hogs consumed up to 50 per cent local co-products 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 per cent solvent-extracted canola meal to weaned pigs and 30 per cent with 20 per cent 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 optimised by least-cost formulation. Feeding these fibrous co-products increases gut weight at evisceration. Producers thus need to market hogs one to two kilos heavier live weight to achieve target carcass weight.

For more information on canola from Prairie Swine Centre:

The Canadian Swine Research and Development Cluster is established within the Growing Canadian Agri-Innovation Program - Canadian Agri-Science Cluster Initiative of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).
Swine Innovation Porc is a corporation of the Canadian Pork Council.

November 2012

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