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Stimulation of Interest in Low Phytate Barley

by 5m Editor
2 December 2010, at 9:06am

CANADA - A plant breeder with the University of Saskatchewan is hoping improved returns in the pork industry will prompt an increased interest in a new more environmentally friendly variety of barley, writes Bruce Cochrane.

CDC Lophy-I is a specialty hulless barley variety developed by the University of Saskatchewan's Crop Development Centre for the monogastric feed market, in particular hogs, based on a low phytate variety developed by USDA in Aberdeen, Idaho.

In 2009 the new barley was released as a public variety to encourage seed production.

Oat and barley breeder Dr Brian Rossnagel says CDC Lophy-I offers pork producers a range of benefits.

Dr Brian Rossnagel-University of Saskatchewan

Normal barley has most of the phosphorus in the grain tied up in a chemical form called phytate and that phytate is not available for digestion in a monogastric stomach so unfortunately that phosphorus goes into the front end of a pig and comes out the back end of a pig.

The material that we worked with has a 75 percent reduction in the amount of phosphorus that's tied up as phytate.

What that means is that phosphorus is then available to the pig and is used by the pig instead of going out the other end of the pig.

Currently most diets in western Canada for hogs are supplemented with additional free phosphorus and this would eliminate the need for at least a large portion of that free phosphorus but most importantly would result in less phosphorus going out in the effluent.

The other advantage is that one of the things that the phytate molecule ties up as well as the phosphorus is it ties up some of the other minerals such as calcium and iron and so on.

Again these would be more available from that barley feed to the animal.


Dr Rossnagel says, because CDC Lophy-I was released just as the hog industry was facing a dramatic downturn in profits, the market for the new variety was limited which lowered the level of interest among growers in producing it.

He says now that things have turned around in the hog industry it's hope that might change.