Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. (CBS Inc.) and the University of Manitoba have worked with the Alberta Barley Commission to collect samples and analyze feed-ration nutrient values.
“Today we have an excellent opportunity to get more nutrition and benefits from feed barley,” said Dr. Anangelina Archile, CBS Inc.’s technical services manager, who helped lead the survey initiative.
“Because of the prominent role of this feed source, particularly in Western Canada, the improvements we make can have a very strong positive impact on the economics and competitiveness of livestock production in this region and other key areas.
But to get the most out of feed barley, we first need to better understand its real-world nutritional profile at a deeper level. That’s what this new barley survey is all about.”
One of the factors is the amount of phytase that ties up phosphorous so that hog farmers often buy supplement.
But there is an enzyme that can unlock the phytase-locked phosphorous, thus improving barley nutrition and lowering feed-ration costs.
The analyses, done at the University of Manitoba, included measurements of starch, protein, non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) – both water soluble and insoluble – neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and phosphorus (phytate and non-phytate).
The results provide a deeper understanding of the nutritional profile of barley, piecing together a puzzle picture that can be maximized through dietary strategies including advanced feed technology options.
On average, crude protein was 10.7 percent and varied considerably with a minimum value of 8.6 percent and a maximum value of 15.3 percent. Starch content on average was 53.2 percent and likewise showed substantial variability with a minimum value of 48.9 percent and a maximum value of 57.9 percent.
NSP on average was 17 percent, with 72.9 percent of that water insoluble and 27.1 water soluble.
The NSP values, particularly the water soluble component, were much larger than the same component identified in surveys for wheat, with beta-glucan comprising the primary water soluble NSP for barley.
“This is significant because we know that high dietary levels of beta-glucan can increase the viscosity of digesta within the intestinal tract of swine and poultry, negatively affecting the feed value of barley,” said Archile.
“However, knowing this, producers can use feed technology, such as enzyme formulations customized for this purpose, to hydrolyze the beta-glucans and thereby greatly increase the nutrition and energy capture.”
NDF on average was 13.6 percent, which is somewhat lower than values commonly estimated, however this is still relatively high compared to the NDF of other feed crops such as wheat, which has an estimated NDF of around 9.31 percent, and corn, which has an estimated NDF at around 10.4 percent. “Barley has more hard-to-digest components, such as fibre, compared to other common feed ingredients,” says Archile.
“The information we have uncovered will help us understand those components and how to mitigate or neutralize them as barriers to feed value. We havethe tools and strategies today to accomplish this. The survey results help give us the blueprint of what we are dealing with. This will help our approaches be more precise and effective.”
Further barley surveys are planned for additional years, says Archile.
The new barley survey complements a CBS Inc. led Canada-wide and international wheat survey initiative now entering its fourth year. Both efforts are part of a broader CBS Inc. focus on supporting feed ingredients expertise.