UK pig rations could mirror growing pig feed sector in Denmark

Higher yielding hybrids as a substitute feed grain are proving popular with pig producers in Denmark, says breeding company, KWS.

Some Danish pig farmers are adding in rye at rates of up to 40% in finishing pig rations.

Hybrid Rye has a reduced protein content to wheat, but KWS reckons higher yields of a new variation of rye hybrids generate more feed value per hectare on light soils – especially compared to wheat – in the second cereal slot.

Fungal disease challenge

Farmers had been put off growing hybrid ryes prior to 2008 due to the vulnerability of previous incarnations to a fungal disease - ergot.

However, to counter that risk, KWS employed a strategy to strengthen its hybrids against any ergot threat – using a mixture of genes bred into its hybrids to increase pollen supply during flowering – marketed as PollenPlusģ.

And there has been a massive hike in hybrid rye area planted in Denmark as a result. In 2006, there were only 30,000 hectares of rye in Denmark – this now stands as more than 110,000 ha in 2015.

Pig producers behind growth in hybrid ryes

Large Danish pig producers, who are actively home feeding their own rations, were the instigators of increasing the amount of rye used in their finishing pig feed.

Key advantages for monogastric feed - pigs:

  • Rye supports very high lysine levels – exceeding wheat, barely or oats
  • Low Glycemic Index (GI) and high satiety
  • Decreased gut ulceration from a higher dietary fibre content
  • High levels of occupation [chewing] and less boredom
  • Increased welfare and reduced stress (nipping, bruising, mounting etc..)
  • Rye supports a very high fructane content - subsequently converted to butyrate
  • In pigs this has the potential to limit scatol release (a contributing factor in boar taint and low consumer acceptability)
  • Additionally a lower risk of salmonella (via the higher absorption of butyrate) from high fibre diets using rye

Rye inclusion recommendations: (LW basis and % Rye inclusion)

  • Fattening pigs: (28- 40 kg) 30% Rye, (40 – 60 kg) 40% Rye, (60 kg) + 50% Rye
  • Sows: 25% Rye
  • Piglets: (15 kg +) – 10 - 20% Rye