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Project Looks at Nutritional Value of UK Oilseed Rape Meal in Pigs, Poultry

02 April 2014

UK - Dr Jos Houdijk, a researcher with Scotland’s Rural College, is leading a research consortium re-examining the nutritional value of Oil Seed Rape meal fed to pigs and poultry.

The £352k project, which will run until March 2016, is funded by industry levy body HGCA and in addition to SRUC involves University of Nottingham and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB). It brings together plant breeders and animal nutritionists.

"The main rationale is that information on UK nutritional values and maximum inclusion rates for OSR meal in pig and poultry feed is probably out of date," said Dr Houdijk. "Overseas they have been including higher levels of OSR in meal for young pigs without any detrimental impact on their growth performance."

The HGCA project (RAP2) has been established in the belief that it is an appropriate time to revisit the UK recommendations. The researchers will test a wide range of currently used OSR varieties for both nutritional and anti-nutritional factors. Through a series of biochemical, digestibility and growth trials they will link the chemical analysis of current OSR varieties with their nutritional value for pigs and poultry. They will also carry out a similar systematic investigation into nutritional and anti-nutritional factors, composition and variation in modern rape varieties.

To help this work the team has established links with the French research facility CREOL at Pessoc. It has a pilot plant that mimics the industrial approach to oil extraction from oil seed crops, but in small batches, enabling it to produce variety-specific OSR meals.

The project is expected to provide the UK feed industry updated information and instil greater confidence about using OSR meal in pig and poultry feeds. The new data will be used to inform OSR breeders, growers, home-mixers and feed manufacturers about the opportunities offered by these protein sources to reduce reliance on imported soya bean meal.

ThePigSite News Desk

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