The breeding of canola from rapeseed has made canola meal a staple protein ingredient for pigs, all the way from weaners to market, and even for breeding stock.

Recent academic studies have further demonstrated 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 of canola meal has long been a concern of swine nutritionists. However, Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra explains how research in his laboratory has confirmed Canadian canola meal is now a very suitable ingredient, supporting high feed intake.



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 below shows, the digestibility of each amino acid is different, highlighting the high degree of accuracy of this method.

Table 1

Like many vegetable protein coproducts, canola meal contains a considerable amount of fiber, which dilutes the energy in the meal. This can be easily addressed when formulating diets. The latest version of NRC for swine indicates that the net energy value of canola meal as fed (12 percent moisture) is 1,821 kcal/kg, or 827 kcal/lb. Expeller-pressed canola meal 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 formulation.



One of the most exciting recent studies of canola meal for swine diets looked at weaner pigs, results of which are summarized below (Figure 1). As the chart clearly shows, young pigs performed exceptionally well, with diets containing up to 20 percent canola meal with a strong gain-to-feed ratio. The bonus in this trial was a substantial savings in feed cost, as noted in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1



Studies conducted across the globe support the use of canola meal for grower-finisher swine. One major learning from these studies is that using the appropriate nutrient values is a key to success. A recent Canadian 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 high levels of canola meal.

Table 2



Canola meal has been readily accepted in diets for sows and gilts, both during gestating and lactating periods. While research on feeding canola meal in sow diets has been limited, researchers out of the University of Manitoba have recently concluded that feeding sows up to 30 percent canola meal supports satisfactory sow and litter performance (Table 3).

Table 3



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