The head of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Seed Increase Unit says new hulless barley varieties offer swine producers a range of nutritional advantages over covered barleys.
With the cost of feed ingredients on the rise pork producers have been looking for lower cost options.
Dave Gehl, the head of the Seed Increase Unit with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Indian Head, notes scientists at the University of Saskatchewan's Crop Development Centre have been developing hulless barleys specifically aimed at the swine market.
Clip-Dave Gehl-Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada:
They do tend to be lower yielding because they don't have the hulls so their yield in bushels per acre or in tonnes per hectare or how ever you measure it is about 20 percent less.
I would say in general they've had a certain lag in s because they haven't had as much breeding effort in them.
I'd say the most recent varieties though are very excellent as far as their disease and agronomic characteristics.
I think they're quite comparable with our standard covered barleys.
They have a fairly major advantage to the hulled barleys in that they have much lower fibre content so they've got a higher digestible energy and I'd say they're a more suitable feed grain for swine definitely than the standard barley.
And we do have some that have a reduced phytate so it reduces the need for certain additives in the feed to deal with phosphorus.
Gehl concedes interest in producing hulless barley has been limited to areas where there are large concentrations of livestock.
He says, when considering barley, most commercial grain growers are focusing on the premium malting barleys.