While high-protein canola-meal products have been available for use in swine diets, it hasn’t been clear how these products would affect gestating and lactating sows. Now, a University of Illinois study shows that both high-protein and conventional canola meal can substitute for up to 100% of the soybean meal without detrimental effects, the university said in an announcement.
“Results of our experiment confirmed that if you provide all the digestible amino acids that are needed, it doesn’t matter where they come from; the pigs don’t care if they come from soybean meal, conventional canola or high-protein canola meal. We can take all the soybean meal out — we did 50% or 100% replacement of the soybean meal with either source of canola meal — and the sows did exactly the same,” said Hans H. Stein, professor in the University of Illinois department of animal sciences and co-author of the study reported in the Journal of Animal Science.
Stein and his co-authors, Yanhong Liu of the University of California-Davis and Maryane Oliveira, fed experimental diets to 180 sows during gestation and lactation. The five diets within each period consisted of a corn/soybean meal control diet, experimental diets with high-protein canola meal replacing 50% or 100% of the soybean meal and with conventional canola meal replacing 50% or 100% of the soybean meal, the announcement said.
The researchers found no differences in sow bodyweight between the control and experimental diets during gestation, after farrowing or at weaning. Similarly, the diets did not influence the average daily feed intake of sows. The total number of pigs born, the number of pigs born alive, litter birth weight and litter weaning weight also did not differ among treatments, but there was a tendency for more pigs to be weaned per litter as the amount of high-protein canola meal increased in the diets. Preweaning mortality of piglets was also reduced as either high-protein or conventional canola meal was included in the diets.
The results run counter to the conventional practice of limiting canola meal to 10-15% in sow diets due to anti-nutritive glucosinolates that reduce amino acid digestibility, Stein said.
“The older recommendations were made at a time when canola contained more glucosinolates, but breeders keep selecting for lower and lower concentrations of glucosinolates in canola. With the newer varieties, which have also been selected for larger seed size, less fiber and more protein, we can include more of the canola meal in the diets,” Stein explained. “This has never been shown before.”
Stein noted that swine producers in northern U.S. states and in Canada and Europe may be especially interested in the results, given that canola meal is more economically attractive than soybean meal in those areas.
“These diets are not better than soybean meal but could be useful where economics drives that decision,” Stein said.