The requirement of 100% organic ingredients in feeds may present problems in piglets because the choice of high-protein organic ingredients for piglets is not large. Pea protein concentrate, rapeseed protein concentrate, broad bean protein concentrate and wheat gluten meal have been studied as possible high-protein ingredients for organically reared weaned piglets. The researchers looked at the nutrient composition, digestibility and energetic value of these ingredients.
At the Raalte test pig farm, 90 weaned piglets of the cross Piétrain boar x (Y x NL) sow housed in groups were given unlimited quantities of five types of feeds: basic feed or feeds containing pea protein concentrate, rapeseed protein concentrate, wheat gluten meal and broad bean protein concentrate as their most important protein sources. Between 45% and 50% of the protein in each feed was derived from the ingredient to be tested. The digestibility of the nutrients in the basic feed, the four trial feeds and the four protein concentrates were calculated using Chromium as an indicator. The exact composition of the four protein concentrates in the study in terms of content (in g/kg) and digestibility coefficients (in %) can be seen in table form in the report below.
The study was carried out with piglets housed in groups. Digestion coefficients for piglets are usually lower than in porkers because the gastrointestinal tract is not yet fully developed in piglets. Digestion coefficients in the CVB table are based on research with porkers. In optimising feeds, the digestion coefficients found in piglets and in porkers cannot be compared one-to-one.
Based on the results of the digestion research and the uptake of the trial feeds by the piglets, the researchers conclude that pea protein concentrate and rapeseed protein concentrate may be attractive as high-protein ingredients for piglets. Follow-up research is required to show what the effect is on feed uptake, growth, feed conversion and health of biologically kept weaned piglets if they are given feeds which contain pea protein concentrate or rapeseed concentrate as their most important sources of protein.
C.M.C. van der Peet-Schwering et al. Digestibility and feed value of high-protein ingredients for organically reared piglets. Livestock research. Wageningen University. Rapport 437.