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Faba Bean Shows Potential to Replace Higher Cost Sources of Dietary Energy

by 5m Editor
23 January 2007, at 11:40am

CANADA - Alberta Agriculture and Food reports low tannin faba beans are emerging as a cost effective alternative for livestock producers looking to escape the rising cost of corn and wheat resulting from increased ethanol production, writes Bruce Cochrane.

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Increased demand for corn and for wheat resulting from expanded ethanol production has reduced the availability and pushed up the price of ingredients that have traditionally been used to provide dietary energy to pigs and broilers.

One concern is that the higher cost of these ingredients will result in lower energy feed formulations which will mean slower growth rates and reduced barn efficiency.

Dr. Eduardo Beltranena, a pork research scientists with Alberta Agriculture and Food, says low tannin faba beans are showing excellent potential as an alternative source of energy.

Eduardo Beltranena-Alberta Agriculture and Food
One of the fallacies that pig producers have in their mind is that pulse crops like peas and faba bean are protein replacements or alternatives to replacing imported soybean meal but both field pea and zero tannin faba bean have a substantial amount of starch that can propel pigs to turn over pig places in barns faster but, again, faba bean out yields peas normally in black and wooded soils by about half a metric tonne per hectare or seven and a half bushels per acre.

So there is, again, greater attraction to producing zero tannin faba bean and we have seen no detrimental effect in pig performance including up to 40 percent zero tannin faba bean in nursery pig diets or in grow out finisher diets for hogs.

Dr. Beltranena observes producers haven't realized yet that pulses are a substantial provider of the starch that pigs need to turn over barns faster so we haven't seen the price pressure yet on the pulses that we have seen on wheat.

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