UK project aims to replace soya feed with lupins
Researchers from the livestock and arable sectors in the UK have co-operated on a five-year Defra sponsored project investigating whether lupins could become a viable source of home-grown protein in animal feed.
Feeding trials from a variety of sources have concluded that lupins may be used as a direct replacement for soya meal, thanks to high crude protein (CP) levels of 30-40pc.
The crop also requires relatively low input and could provide UK farmers with a valuable alternative break crop with a defined end market.
Ron Stobart, research projects manager for project partner The Arable Group, said: "One of the most important areas we've looked at is the crop's agronomy - what nutrients it needs, how to keep it weed-free and how it grows in the field.
The European Feed Manufacturers' Association (Fefac) estimates that the EU livestock industry imports 77pc of its protein requirements and points out that 98pc of soya bean meal imports are from Brazil and Argentina both major producers of GM soya.
The Food Standards Agency warns that the segregation of GM and non-GM crops is not routinely practised by commodity-exporting countries. If the project is succesful it could avoid the need to import hundreds of thousands of tonnes of soya to the UK each year.
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