Three new HGCA research projects worth a total of £1.5 million will investigate better ways to measure the nutritional value of grain and oilseeds.
The organisation is contributing £650,000 to the research, which aims to benefit growers and feed processors by examining the effects of feed quality on animal performance and developing quicker tests for nutritional quality. The rest of the funding has been secured from Government and industry sources.
The HGCA‘s head of business development, Dr Martin Grantley-Smith, said the investment in the projects would help ensure grain of certain quality goes to the most suitable end use.
“This will cut down on waste for the benefit of the whole supply chain,” he said. “We are also aware that imported soya-meal may become less attractive for feed because of price and availability. By exploring the potential to increase the use of alternative cereals and oilseeds-based nutrition in rations, this could provide a big opportunity for growers, as well as the pig and poultry supply chain.”
Two of the projects will look at how higher levels of rapeseed meal could be included in pig and poultry feed without compromising tight feed specifications or animal performance.
A total of £325,000 has been awarded to SRUC, NIAB and the University of Nottingham to work out optimum levels of rapeseed meal in feed. This complements an £850,000 project to develop fast tools to establish the nutritive quality of rapeseed meal and predict heavy metal and mycotoxin levels in DDGS offered to pigs and poultry in the UK, using near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and similar techniques. The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Northern Ireland will lead the project alongside a number of research and industry partners.