Using Pulses, Canola Meal and Other Strategies to Enhance the Cost-Competitiveness of Swine Diets and Resulting Production Efficiency
Optimising feed costs and implementing strategies to improve efficiency is essential if modern pork production is to remain profitable. A wide range of external factors currently challenge the viability of pig enterprises worldwide, including foreign exchange rates, consumption of limited starch and edible oil resources for ethanol and bio-diesel production and competing pork import and export markets. Pulses and oilseed meals have represented a valuable nutrient source for pigs for many years, but their importance in pig diets may be increasing. Firstly, they have potential to supply significant proportions of energy as well as protein without being in demand for biofuel production or in fact increasing in availability as a result of biofuel production. Secondly, increasing scrutiny over the use of mammalian proteins in pig diets and segregation within feed mills means pulses and oilseed meals are sometimes the only protein sources available. This paper describes opportunities to exploit pulses and canola meal in pig diets and ways to ensure the nutrients they supply are used with optimum efficiency. The comparatively high crude protein and available amino acid content of pulses compared with cereals makes them a valuable addition to pig diets. In contrast, the lower starch content of peas, and particularly lupins, compared with cereal grains, reduces their net energy contributions to pig diets (i.e. a higher proportion of the energy derived from pulses fed to pigs is derived from fermentation in the hind gut compared to cereals) and this needs to be considered if they are being incorporated into diets at higher than traditional levels. The response of pigs of all ages to canola meal inclusion in diets is generally favourable. In particular, the nutritional quality of canola meal will be influenced by: the residual oil content which will impact on the digestible energy content of the meal and the levels of glucosinolates; the need to ensure they do not impair circulating tri-iodothyronine levels or feed intake; and the level of heat imparted during oil extraction does not damage the residual proteins and thus reduce bio-availability of amino acids. The digestible energy content of the canola meal is directly related to the level of residual oil. The higher the oil content the higher the digestible energy content. With increasing cost pressure against the cereal component of pig diets, there is potential to increase the use of pulses and canola meal as energy sources as well as protein sources. As a consequence, there is a need to review the factors that influence maximum inclusion level of these ingredients so they can be used as constraints when formulating commercial diets. Pulses and oilseed meals will be in increased demand for use in pig diets given the cost pressures against cereals and increasing scrutiny over the inclusion of mammalian proteins in livestock diets. There is sufficient nutritional knowledge to ensure pulses and canola meal are included in pig diets and utilized with optimum efficiency, however, there is a need to ensure variation in nutritional quality is accounted for prior to diet formulation and to ensure that higher inclusion levels of these products are not comprised as a result of lack of attention to the potential negative effects of anti-nutritional factors or non-starch polysaccharides.
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