A feeding trial conducted at the University of Alberta's Swine Research and Technology Centre has shown lentils can be included at rates as high as 20 percent in the diets of weanling pigs without any negative impact on performance.
An abundance of lentils following the 2010 harvest, prompted researchers with the University of Alberta to conduct a three-week feeding trial in which lentils were included in the diets of nursery pigs weaned at three weeks of age.
Animal science professor Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra says the trail began about one week after weaning and 20 percent of the soybean meal and 10 percent of the wheat in the ration were gradually replaced with lentils.
Clip-Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta:
Lentils are part of the legume family so that means that they contain a considerable amount of protein, meaning more than in cereal grains but not as much as in canola meal or soybean meal.
The sample we were dealing with contained about 26 percent protein, not a lot of fat, less than one percent, intermediate amounts of fibre but also still a significant amount of starch, think about close to 40 percent of starch in the diet.
So lentils are indeed a source of protein but they also are a potentially good source of energy.
Because they're part of the legume family, they also contain some anti-nutritional factors.
You can think of phytic acids.
You may know that as phytate and they may contain some trypsin inhibitors and some tannins as well.
So we basically wanted to have a look at how pigs would react to switching the nutritional profile and make sure that there were no negative responses relative to the anti-nutritional factors.
Dr. Zijlstra notes there was no negative impact on voluntary feed intake and, at inclusion rates of up to 22 and a half percent, there was no change performance but at 30 percent feed efficiency and average daily gain were reduced.