Using lentils and flaxseed in pig feed
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. Lentils
and flaxseeds are among these ingredients, according to experiments done by the
Prairie Swine Centre.
grown primarily in Western Canada for export and for human consumption. Each
year, however, part of the production does not meet the grade for export and is
used by the feed industry. The latter is attracted by the low price of the
product. Lentils belong to the pulse crop family and have a chemical composition
quite similar to that of peas, widely used in pig nutrition.
Flaxseed 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
Evaluating the ingredients
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.
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. The highest level of canola oil
inclusion significantly reduced daily feed intake; this was probably due to the
fact that the canola oil was not completely absorbed from the diet. 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.
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