Researchers have discovered ways to enhance low-quality feed grains
By Kate Ayers
Acidification and fermentation can improve the nutrient content of low-quality feed grains, University of Saskatchewan scientists found.
In partnership with Swine Innovation Porc, the researchers looked to identify different feed processing options. The scientists examined, for example, high moisture grain, a Farmscape article said today.
“Both fermentation and acidification (have) direct benefits on intestinal health of the pigs,” Dr. Denise Beaulieu, an assistant professor of monogastric nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan, said to Farms.com today.
These findings are important with the new antimicrobial regulations coming into effect in December, which will require producers have a veterinary prescription for certain medications and medicated feeds. (See the April edition of Better Pork for more in-depth coverage of these regulations.)
In addition, producers are always looking at ways to improve their bottom line and feed is a significant cost, Beaulieu said in the article.
“One way of doing that is to use low-quality ingredients and then we can feed these to the pig and produce good protein,” she said.
“That’s also, in my opinion, a really good way of improving sustainability of pork production and protein production – is to use low quality grains.”
Pork producers are not competing with consumers for these low-quality grains. Feeding these grains to pigs effectively recycles and uses the products, Beaulieu adds.
However, these low-quality grains have a downfall. They often contain nutrients with lower digestibility for the pigs. So, researchers looked at fermentation and acidification to improve the nutrient digestibility of these feeds, the article said.
Dr. Andrew Van Kessel at the University of Saskatchewan was the principle investigator for the fermentation project and Beaulieu focused on the acidification of grains.
“Fermentation is adding bacteria, in this case a couple of different strains of lactobacilli. … Those bacteria produce enzymes and the enzymes break down the feed into organic acids,” Beaulieu said in the article.
“That (process) allows the feed to be preserved.”
The research team is also investigating adding acids to the feed, which preserves the grain by lowering the pH and decreasing bacterial growth.
This process “would be positive in a year, for example, when (producers) are harvesting (grain) at high moisture,” Beaulieu said to Farms.com.
These results mean producers “can take the grain off at high moisture. (They) wouldn’t have to dry it but could still (use that grain) for feed.”
Pigs also benefit from a lower pH feed as it enhances digestion, Beaulieu said.
National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff. Des Moines, IA USA photo