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Experiments show benefits alternative pig feed

Lentils and flaxseeds can be used as alternative ingredients for diversifying pig diets, according to experiments done by the Prairie Swine Centre, based in Saskatoon, Canada.

The pork industry is continually seeking alternative ingredients for use in pig diets, either as a means of diversifying rations -and thus reducing cost- or to achieve a final pork product that meets certain specifications.

Lentil study
A study in two lentil samples - a blend of brown, yellow and red lentils and frozen lentils - showed that they are an appreciable ingredient for the pig, with a nutritional value slightly lower than that of peas.

This means that the rate of inclusion in the diet of growing-finishing pigs will probably not exceed 20% of the total.

Flaxseed study
The use of flaxseed, with its high content of omega-3, is an interesting ingredient for pork producers who want to produce omega-3 enriched pork by supplementing the diets with flaxseed.

A growth experiment was carried out to evaluate the response of pigs to flax in their diet. Growing pigs received a diet containing 0, 5, 10, 15 or 20% of flaxseed. There was no adverse impact of flaxseed inclusion on average daily gain, up to 15% inclusion.

The highest level of flaxseed inclusion tended to reduce growth rate, something also observed at the highest canola oil inclusion.

Intake of the high flax diet was greater than that on the high canola oil diet. There tended to be an increase in feed efficiency at the lower levels of oil inclusion, whether from flaxseed or canola oil; however, only the canola oil diets sustained this improvement at the highest levels of inclusion.

Lentils are grown primarily in Western Canada for export and for human consumption. The part of the production that does not meet the grade for export, is used by the feed industry.

Lentils belong to the pulse crop family and have a chemical composition quite similar to that of peas, widely used in pig nutrition.

Flaxseed, for its part, possesses properties that make it unique as a feed ingredient, not the least of which is a highly desirable fatty acid profile in the lipid fraction.

Possible future uses for flax include the production of omega-3 fatty acid-enriched pork, the development of alternatives to antimicrobial growth promoters and the enrichment of sow diets for essential fatty acids.

Related link:
• Prairie Swine Centre

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