Canadian research took a closer look at chemical characteristics, feed processing quality, growth performance and energy digestibility among wheat classes in pelleted diets fed to weaned pigs.
Among wheat classes based on end use, the nutritional quality of wheat for pigs is expected to vary.
Therefore, Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR), Canada Prairie Spring White (CPSW), Canada Western Amber Durum (CWAD), Canada Western Hard White Spring (CWHWS) and Canada Western Red Winter (CWRW) wheat are separated out from Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat, which is the standard wheat for bread also known as hard red spring wheat.
Two cultivars from these six wheat classes were characterised for their physico-chemical, feed milling properties and nutritional value for young, growing pigs.
Growth and energy digestibility were studied for 3 wk with weaned pigs (12.8 ± 1.2 kg initial body weight) fed diets containing 650 g/kg wheat [14.6 MJ digestible energy (DE)/kg; 14.2 g digestible lysine/MJ DE].
Wheat crude protein (on dry matter basis) ranged from 124 to 174 g/kg among classes: 127–165 g for CPSW and CPSR, and 165–170 g/kg for CWAD.
Total non-starch polysaccharides ranged from 90 to 115 g/kg among classes.
For days 0–21, average daily gain, average daily feed intake and feed efficiency did not differ among wheat cultivars and classes.
The coefficient of apparent total tract digestibility of energy in the diet was lowest for CPSR (0.87), intermediate for CPSW, CWRS, CWHWS (0.87–0.88) and highest for CWAD and CWRW (0.89).
Feed pelleting speed and pellet durability did not differ among wheat diets but pelleting increased viscosity of diets.
Principle component analysis revealed the negative impact of fibre components on feed efficiency.
Despite variations in chemical characteristics and DE content among wheat classes, young pigs fed all classes of wheat including CPSW, CPSR and CWAD may perform effectively.