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Swine

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Although canola meal evolved from rapeseed meal, canola meal’s nutritive value has been so improved that it became a staple protein ingredient for pigs, and is included in diets of pigs all the way from weaners to market, and especially for breeding stock.

Recent academic studies have confirmed that canola meal provides consistent value for swine producers. This value can be attributed to:

  • An excellent amino acid profile, allowing canola meal to be included in diets at high levels, supporting excellent growth;
  • Very low levels of anti-nutritional factors and high palatability;
  • Universal usage of enzymes that improve the energy value of many ingredients, including canola meal;
  • Efforts of the scientific community to provide highly accurate nutrient values for canola meal; and
  • Improvements in diet formulation technology.

This page is divided into six sections. Pick a topic below to learn more about using canola meal in swine diets:

 

PALATABILITY

Palatability of canola meal has long been a concern of swine nutritionists, particularly for young pigs. However, Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra explains how research in his laboratory at the University of Alberta has confirmed Canadian canola meal is now a very suitable ingredient, supporting high feed intake.

 

DIET FORMULATIONS

The key to using canola meal in diets for pigs involves correctly balancing the diets for digestible, rather than total, amino acids. This allows formulators to blend ingredients in formulas so that amino acid requirements are consistently met.

The most accurate method of determining digestibility is called standardized ileal digestibility. As the Table 1 below shows, the digestibility of each amino acid is different, highlighting the high degree of accuracy of this method.

TABLE 1. AMINO ACID CONTENT AND STANDARDIZED ILEAL DIGESTIBILITY OF AMINO ACIDS IN CANOLA MEAL1, 2
Amino Acid % of Meal (Assuming 36%
protein)3
% of Crude Protein Standardized digestibility, %
Alanine 1.58 4.38 78.2
Arginine 2.19 6.08 87.2
Aspartate + Asparagine 2.49 6.92 74.8
Glutamate + Glutamine 6.22 17.28 85.2
Glycine 1.73 4.81 77.6
Histidine 1.08 3.00 77.5
Isoleucine 1.38 3.84 78.6
Leucine 2.38 6.60 81.2
Lysine 2.04 5.66 77.3
Methionine 0.69 1.93 85.4
Methionine + Cysteine 1.33 3.69 79.2
Phenylalanine 1.34 3.71 80.5
Proline 2.49 6.92 82.8
Serine 1.32 3.66 77.3
Threonine 1.43 3.97 74.6
Tryptophan 0.48 1.33 82.9
Tyrosine 0.90 2.51 78.6
Valine 1.61 4.46 76.5

1 Adewole et al., 2017; Almeida et al, 2014; Berrocoso et al., 2015; Flavero et al., 2014; le et al., 2017; Maison and Stein, 2014; Mejicanos and Nyachoti, 2018; Sanjayan et al., 2014; Trindade Neto et al., 2012
2 Average of 29 values
3 Typical levels are higher; 36% is the minimum allowable level based on trading rules.

Like many vegetable protein coproducts, canola meal contains a considerable amount of fibre, which dilutes the energy in the meal.  The net energy value of canola meal, as with many ingredients varies somewhat on an as-fed basis because the moisture and fat content of the meal can vary. Recent research showed that the following equation provided a good means of calculating net energy (Woyengo et al., 2016):

NE = 0.700 × DE + 1.61 × EE + 0.48 × starch − 0.91 × CP − 0.87 × ADF, where NE = net energy, DE = digestible energy, EE= ether extract, CP = crude protein and ADF= acid detergent fiber.

When this equation is applied, the average net energy value for solvent extracted canola meal is 2,049 kcal/kg or 930kcal/lb.

Expeller-pressed canola meal typically has a net energy value of 2,500 kcal/kg, which is equal to 1,136 kcal/lb. (Woyengo, et al. 2009). These values have been confirmed in recent research studies, and are appropriate to use in feed formulations.

 

NURSERY PIGS

One of the most exciting recent studies of canola meal for swine diets looked at weaner pigs, results of which are summarized below (Table 2). As the chart clearly shows, young pigs performed exceptionally well, with diets containing up to 40 percent canola meal with a strong gain-to-feed ratio. While the concentrations fed in this likely exceed the levels that would likely be needed for practical formulations, they clearly demonstrate the versatility of canola meal for nursery pigs.

TABLE 2. PERFORMANCE RESULTS FOR WEANED PIGS GIVEN DIETS CONTAINING UP TO 40% CANOLA MEAL, AND FORMULATED FOR NET ENERGY AND STANDARDIZED ILEAL AMINO ACID DIGESTIBILITY VALUES1
Level of
inclusion %
Average Daily Gain
(Kg/Day)
Average Daily Feed
(Kg/Day)
Gain per unit of feed
0 0.59 0.96 0.59
10 0.59 0.98 0.60
20 0.61 0.94 0.64
30 0.58 0.90 0.65
40 0.57 0.84 0.68

1 Parr et al., 2015

GROWER-FINISHER PIGS

Studies conducted around the globe support the use of canola meal for grower-finisher swine. One major   take-home from these studies is that using the appropriate nutrient values is a key to success. A recent study shows that performance with high levels of canola meal was equal to that obtained using soybean meal. This means nutritionists can formulate lower-cost diets with canola meal (Table 4).

TABLE 3. RESULTS OF A 91-DAY GROW-FINISH FEEDING STUDY COMPARING CANOLA MEAL TO SOYBEAN MEAL1
Percent of added protein from canola meal
0 33 66 100
Average daily gain, kg 0.93 0.94 0.94 0.94
Average daily feed, kg 2.49 2.59 2.67 2.63
Gain/feed 0.37 0.36 0.35 0.36
Carcass yield, % 78.0 78.6 78.2 77.8
Backfat, cm 2.03 1.89 1.78 1.88

1 Little et al., 2015

BREEDING SWINE

Canola meal has been readily accepted in diets for sows and gilts, both during gestating and lactating periods. An extensive trial conducted at the University of Manitoba concluded that feeding sows up to 30 percent canola meal supports satisfactory sow and litter performance (Table 4).

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Want more information on canola meal and swine? Check out some of the resources below:

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