The Changing World of
By Dario Bard Are feed peas the new constant in the ever-changing world of animal feed? Hear the latest from industry experts.
The world of animal feed has traditionally been dominated by two ingredients: corn (as the primary source of starch for energy) and soybeans (as the main source of protein). But as corn and soy prices have risen, peas have become an increasingly popular alternative.
“I used to work for a hog company,” says Denis Tremorin, Sustainability Director for Pulse Canada. “I was there for four years and we weren’t using many peas. In the two years before I left in 2010, they were using more peas because as the price of soy meal, corn and wheat was up, the price differential made sense.”
“What makes peas attractive as feed,” explains Rex Newkirk, Director of Research and Business Development at the Canadian International Grains Institute, “is their mix of starch and protein. When corn and soybean prices are high, like today, peas can be used to offset parts of both of those ingredients. Other products, on the other hand, allow you to offset only one of the two.”
In addition to the hog industry, peas are being used to a more limited extent to feed other livestock, including chickens, cattle and sheep, and are even being used by the aquaculture industry to feed several types of fish, such as catfish and tilapia.
In Europe, peas have traditionally been used as a major ingredient in hog feed. The nutrient profile of peas matches the nutritional requirements of pigs, which, in addition, have a digestive system that is particularly adept at deriving energy from peas. In North America, however, this is a relatively new development. 04 IFTmag
“Fifteen years ago, there wasn’t much awareness of peas in Canada,” says Newkirk. “Pulse Canada and the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers and organizations like that did a lot of work to show the industry the benefits of peas. Then farmers started using them and found they make nice pellets, have good nutritional properties and the animals like eating them, and so it became sort of a staple, a go-to depending on price.”
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