University of Alberta research has shown that when given a choice, pigs prefer the less bitter taste of soybean meal to substitutes such as napus canola and juncea canola meal.
Canola meals are less expensive than soybean meal, providing a cheaper feed alternative if they can replace soybean meal in swine diets.
In the study presented at the Midwest Section of the American Society of Animal Science meeting in Des Moines this week, Jose Luis Landero explained that previous reports indicated that producers can replace up to 20% of soybean meal with napus canola without affecting pig performance.
Landero said the drawback to using canola meals is that the feeds naturally contain more glucosinolates, organic compounds that can produce a bitter taste. A high level of glucosinolates in swine feed could cause pigs to eat less.
In recent trials, Landero and fellow researchers set up pens with two feeders. In the first trial, one feeder had a commercial soybean meal diet, and the other feeder had a percentage of napus or juncea canola meal to replace the soybean meal. In the second trial, the control feeder had neither soybean meal nor canola meal, and the test feeder had some percentage of the three types of meals.
The researchers tested 360 pigs, measuring feed preference by dividing the feed intake of the test diet with total feed intake per pen.
Landero said the data clearly showed a preference for soybean meal over napus or juncea canola meal. Juncea meal was the least favorite choice. Landero suggested that was because juncea canola meal contains different types of glucosinolates.
Landero said scientists and producers should be careful about interrupting feed preferences. Pigs do not normally get a choice of feed, so they would probably still eat a diet containing a low level of napus or juncea canola meal.
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