Currently, more than half of the European protein feedstuffs are imported due to a lack of production of protein crops within the EU. Faba bean (Vicia faba L.) is rich in both starch and protein and is considered an alternative to imported protein sources, but its potential is yet unexploited, particularly in pig diets. Color-flowered faba bean cultivars contain tannins, whereas white-flowered cultivars have a small content (< 1%) of tannins. The aim of the present study was to determine the nutritional and antinutritional factors (ANF) contents in a range of faba bean cultivars and to evaluate their effects on the growth performance of weaner pigs. For that purpose, a total of 84 faba bean samples, 11 color-flowered and 5 white-flowered cultivars, were used to investigate variations in nutritional and antinutritional components. As a result, the color-flowered cultivars had a greater content of condensed tannins (CT), while the white-flowered cultivars had a greater content of vicine and convicine. The in vitro digestibility was greater in white- than in color-flowered cultivars. However, the color-flowered cultivars yielded greater digestible crude protein per hectare than white-flowered cultivars. Based on these results, 3 cultivars were selected for the growth study with weaner pigs. Gloria (a white-flowered cultivar), Fuego and Julia (both color-flowered) were selected for deviating content of standardized ileal digestibility (SID) CP, where Julia had more SID CP than Fuego. The control diet contained soybean meal and potato protein as the main protein sources, whereas the experimental diets contained 10 and 20% Julia or Fuego (Julia10, Julia20, Fuego10, Fuego20) and 20% Gloria (Gloria), with a total of 6 experimental diets. The diets were fed to 300 pigs in a randomized complete block design with 5 blocks and 6 pens of 10 piglets in each block. Piglets were weaned at 5 weeks of age and received the experimental diets ad libitum for 27 days.
For the whole period, pigs fed Julia10 and Julia20 showed the greatest average daily gain (ADG). Average daily feed intake (ADFI) was greater in pigs fed Julia10 and smaller in pigs fed Fuego20. Feed efficiency was greatest in pigs fed Julia20 and smallest in pigs fed the control.
In conclusion, faba beans are a viable protein source in well-balanced diets to weaner pigs, with cultivar rather than flower color determining the nutritional value.
Ivarsson, E., and Neil, M. Variations in nutritional and antinutritional contents among faba bean cultivars and effects on growth performance of weaner pigs. Livestock Science 212 (2018): 14-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2018.03.017