Scientists Successfully Process Straw as Feed Supplement

CANADA - Processed straw is offering potential as a feed supplement intended to reduce aggression among gestating sows, reports Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 18 October 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

"Increasing Profitability of the Livestock Sector Through Feed Processing" will be discussed when Sask Pork hosts Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium on 14 and 15 November in Saskatoon.

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc the University of Saskatchewan, the Prairie Swine Centre and the Canadian Feed Research Centre have been exploring the potential of using straw as a feed supplement to increase satiety among gestating sows in group housing and reduce aggression.

Dr Rex Newkirk, an associate professor with University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Research Chair in Feed Processing Technology responsible for the Canadian Feed Research Centre, says researchers have successfully produced a straw puck.

Dr Rex Newkirk-University of Saskatchewan

Straw is challenging because it's light and fluffy and how do you really handle it on a large scale commercial basis, how do you get the animal to eat it efficiently so we looked at a few different technologies and one of them that really worked really well was to make a puck.

They're about two inch diameter little pucks of straw that are generated under high pressure.

It's using something called a briquetter.

In the biofuel industry people were trying to find a way to make straws and woody products and things more conveyable and so they developed a briquetter.

Essentially in my mind it's kind of like a square baler, just on a small scale.

You basically have a plunger that goes back and forth and the product falls into a chamber, a plunger pushes it forward through a die and that repeats over and over again and you generate these pucks.

They were really designed for briquettes for burning and we adapted it to this application and the sows seem to really like them.

Dr Newkirk says there is a fair bit of pressure generated so there is some modification of the straw but, in this case, it's primarily the change in form that's of interest.

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