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Feeding High-fat Oats to Swine

by 5m Editor
6 November 2004, at 12:00am

By P.A. Thacker, Ph.D. and B.G. Rossnagel, Ph.D., Departments of Animal Science and Plant Science, University of Saskatchewan. Published by Manitoba Pork Council - Feeding a recently developed high-fat oat to pigs improved growth rate and efficiency of feed conversion when compared with normal-fat oat.

Take Home Message

Nutrient digestibility also improved with no negative effects on carcass quality. These results provide a strong indication that high-fat oat is superior to normal-fat oat as an energy source for swine.

In addition, there appears to be greater potential to utilize oat, regardless of fat level, in rations fed to growing-finishing pigs than is currently being achieved. The agronomic properties of high-fat oat are still being tested at the Crop Development Centre and they are not currently available for commercial feeding. However, in the future, high-fat oats may provide swine producers with an alternative energy source that can be successfully incorporated into rations fed to swine.

Introduction

The performance of pigs fed diets based on oat is typically poorer than that of pigs fed diets based on higher energy cereal grains. The reason for this is that oat provides approximately 10% less digestible energy than barley and about 20% less digestible energy than wheat and corn due to its high fibre content. The fibre itself is not digestible and its presence also impairs the digestibility of energy and other nutrients contained in the grain. As a result, oat is not widely utilized in rations fed to swine.

The Study

Fat addition is an effective way to increase the energy content of swine diets. Therefore, increasing the fat content of oat may be a useful way to improve its nutritional value for swine. A breeding project was recently undertaken at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre to develop a high-fat oat for use in livestock feeding. The high-fat oat is a breeding line designated as SA96121.

It has good physical grain quality and produces yields similar to many other oat varieties on all soil types. A chemical analysis of high-fat oat and normal oat is shown in Table 1.

The effects of feeding high-fat oat on nutrient digestibility and pig performance are shown in Table 2. Feeding diets containing the high-fat oat improved pig performance with significant improvements observed in both rate of gain and feed efficiency. The increased energy density of the high-fat oat diets is the most likely explanation for the improved pig performance. Digestibility coefficients for pigs fed diets containing high-fat oat were also significantly higher than those of pigs fed diets containing normal-fat oat. Neither type of oat or level of inclusion had any significant effects on any carcass trait including dressing percent, carcass value index, lean yield, loin fat or loin yield.

Overall, these results provide a strong indication that high-fat oat is superior to normal-fat oat as an energy source for swine. Although the improved pig performance alone may be sufficient justification to recommend the use of highfat oat over normal-fat oat, there may be additional advantages to its use. It is possible that the use of high-fat oat could play a role in reducing dust levels in pig barns as significant reductions in aerial dust levels in swine units have been reported when diets contained additional lipid. The “prepackaged fat” in high-fat oat may also be of benefit to pig producers who mix their own feed, and who may not have sufficient production volume to justify keeping a heated fat tank at their feed mixing facility.

Current recommendations regarding the incorporation of oat into rations fed to growing-finishing swine suggest that their inclusion should be limited to less than 20%. However, these recommendations are based largely on experiments conducted in excess of 25 years ago. Considerable improvement has been made in oat varieties during this period, especially in terms of lower % hull. The results of the present experiment indicate that both normal and high-fat oats can substitute for barley at levels as high as 50% of the diet without hindering pig performance. Since the average yield of oat can be equal or higher than barley with lower input costs, a re-examination of feeding recommendations regarding oat in swine rations seems warranted.

Table 1. Chemical composition, amino acid content and fatty acid analysis of normal and high fat oat (per cent as fed)
Normal oat High-fat oat
Moisture
Crude protein
Ether extract
Acid detergent fibre
Ash
Lysine
Methionine + Cystine
Threonine
11.18
9.44
4.44
15.46
3.67
0.45
0.69
0.40
12.20
12.46
6.03
12.75
3.07
0.53
0.67
0.44

Table 2. Effect of type of oat and level of inclusion on nutrient digestibility and performance of growing-finishing pigs
Normal High-fat 0% 25% 50%
Nutrient digestibility
Dry matter (%)
Crude Protein (%)
Gross energy (%)
1
71.6a
73.6a
70.5a
1
74.6b
77.0b
74.3b
1
76.8a
73.1a
74.9a
1
73.7ab
76.3b
72.9ab
1
68.7b
76.5b
69.4b
Pig performance
Daily gain (kg)
Daily intake (kg)
Feed conversion (kg)
1
0.86a
2.01
2.34a
1
0.91b
2.08
2.28b
1
0.88
2.04
2.31
1
0.88
2.02
2.30
1
0.90
2.08
2.32
Carcass traits
Dressing percent (%)
Carcass value index
Lean yield (%)
Loin fat (mm)
Loin lean (mm)
1
77.6
111.9
60.1
18.9
55.2
1
76.7
111.1
60.5
18.5
57.4
1
76.6
111.3
60.6
18.2
57.9
1
77.9
111.8
60.2
18.7
56.0
1
76.8
111.3
60.1
19.0
54.1

Source: Manitoba Pork Council - July 2004