Benefits of High Fibre Low Cost Feeds Offset Global Warming Potential

Farmscape for January 5, 2021

Full Interview 12:53 Listen

Research being conducted by the University of Saskatchewan shows pork producers can reduce their feed costs without increasing the carbon footprint of their operations by selecting low cost high fibre feed ingredients. Scientists with the University of Saskatchewan are evaluating the carbon footprint left when using high fibre feed ingredients, specifically wheat mill run and culled peas, in swine rations.
Dr. Denise Beaulieu, an Assistant Professor Monogastric Nutrition with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, says the greenhouse gases of primary concern are Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide.

Clip-Dr. Denise Beaulieu-University of Saskatchewan:
They’re not equal in terms of global warming potential so, when we do the final calculations, we do calculations that look at different global warming potential from those gases. We were interested primarily in looking at by-products from the grain industry and we specifically looked at a product called wheat mill run. This is left over from milling wheat. If you make the flour from the wheat and that goes to human consumption, then you have a high fibre by-product, wheat mill run. Then we also looked at the addition of peas to the diet.
Very often, after a farmer sells his peas, there will be peas left that do not make human food grade so these are often used to feed pigs and what would be the effect of feeding these on greenhouse gas output. Primarily what we wanted to do was see if the potential increase in greenhouse gas production from the pig and from the manure would be offset by the potential decrease in producing the feed.

Dr. Beaulieu says it looks like, whether using the wheat mill run or the culled peas, the agronomic benefits and the decreased requirement for nitrogen fertilizer result in an overall decrease in the global warming potential of pork production so it’s a win win situation.

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