Progress Reported in Efforts to Process Straw Fibre for Inclusion in Sow Diets

Farmscape for March 10, 2017

Full Interview 8:52 Listen

Scientists has cleared the first hurdle in efforts to utilize fibre from straw in the diets of gestating and lactating sows. As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc aimed at increasing sow milk yield and piglet growth using low-cost feeds during gestation and lactation, scientists are evaluating the inclusion of fibre derived from wheat and oat straw in sow diets.
The intent is to add bulk to maintain proper conditioning while reducing the risk of sows housed in groups fighting over feed. Dr. Denise Beaulieu, an Assistant Professor in Monogastric Nutrition with the University of Saskatchewan, says the biggest challenge has been processing the straw.

Clip-Dr. Denise Beaulieu-University of Saskatchewan:
We tried lots of different processing techniques at the lab level so we have done a lot of lab work in looking at how the processing affected the solubility of different nutrients in the straw and this could affect the feeling of satiety. But, when we tried to scale this up, to get enough straw that we would have to feed the sows and put it though the mill, then we encountered a lot of challenges trying to find a method where we could make enough of this straw to feed the sows. We finally did find, it’s an instrument that was actually over in the college of engineering here and it puts the straw into a very very hard pellet.
During that processing there’s some heat applied, so we’re thinking this heat will affect some of the physical properties of the straw so we’re using that. It’s still quite a long procedure to do it. It’s not something that would be commercially viable yet but it does allow us to test the principle of whether or not it’s a feasible option.

Feeding trials involving gestating sows are just now underway. Dr. Beaulieu says scientists are monitoring feeding behavior and performance through gestation and into lactation and tracking the amount of feed consumed.

For Farmscape.Ca, I’m Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork


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