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Canola Meal in Swine Diets


Canola Meal in Swine Diets

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Although canola meal evolved from rapeseed meal, canola meal’s nutritive value has been so improved that it became a staple protein ingredient for pigs, and is included in diets of pigs all the way from weaners to market, and especially for breeding stock.

Recent academic studies have confirmed that canola meal provides consistent value for swine producers. This value can be attributed to:

Learn more about using canola meal in swine diets:


Palatability of canola meal has long been a concern of swine nutritionists, particularly for young pigs. However, Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra explains how research in his laboratory at the University of Alberta has confirmed Canadian canola meal is now a very suitable ingredient, supporting high feed intake.

Diet Formulations

The key to using canola meal in diets for pigs involves correctly balancing the diets for digestible, rather than total, amino acids. This allows formulators to blend ingredients in formulas so that amino acid requirements are consistently met.

The most accurate method of determining digestibility is called standardized ileal digestibility. As the Table 1 below shows, the digestibility of each amino acid is different, highlighting the high degree of accuracy of this method.

Table 1. Amino acid content and standardized ideal digestibility of amino acids in canola meal

Amino Acid % of Meal (Assuming 36% protein)³ % of Crude Protein Standardized digestibility, %
Alanine 1.58 4.38 78.2
Arginine 2.19 6.08 87.2
Aspartate + Asparagine 2.49 6.92 74.8
Glutamate + Glutamine 6.22 17.28 85.2
Glycine 1.73 4.81 77.6
Histidine 1.08 3.00 77.5
Isoleucine 1.38 3.84 78.6
Leucine 2.38 6.60 81.2
Lysine 2.04 5.66 77.3
Methionine 0.69 1.93 85.4
Methionine + Cysteine 1.33 3.69 79.2
Phenylalanine 1.34 3.71 80.5
Proline 2.49 6.92 82.8
Serine 1.32 3.66 77.3
Threonine 1.43 3.97 74.6
Tryptophan 0.48 1.33 82.9
Tyrosine 0.90 2.51 78.6
Valine 1.61 4.46 76.5

1 Adewole et al., 2017; Almeida et al, 2014; Berrocoso et al., 2015; Flavero et al., 2014; le et al., 2017; Maison and Stein, 2014; Mejicanos and Nyachoti, 2018; Sanjayan et al., 2014; Trindade Neto et al., 2012
2 Average of 29 values
3 Typical levels are higher; 36% is the minimum allowable level based on trading rules.

Like many vegetable protein coproducts, canola meal contains a considerable amount of fibre, which dilutes the energy in the meal.  The net energy value of canola meal, as with many ingredients varies somewhat on an as-fed basis because the moisture and fat content of the meal can vary. Recent research showed that the following equation provided a good means of calculating net energy (Woyengo et al., 2016):

NE = 0.700 × DE + 1.61 × EE + 0.48 × starch − 0.91 × CP − 0.87 × ADF, where NE = net energy, DE = digestible energy, EE= ether extract, CP = crude protein and ADF= acid detergent fiber.

When this equation is applied, the average net energy value for solvent extracted canola meal is 2,049 kcal/kg or 930kcal/lb.

Expeller-pressed canola meal typically has a net energy value of 2,500 kcal/kg, which is equal to 1,136 kcal/lb. (Woyengo, et al. 2009). These values have been confirmed in recent research studies, and are appropriate to use in feed formulations.

Nursery Pigs

One of the most exciting recent studies of canola meal for swine diets looked at weaner pigs, results of which are summarized below (Table 2). As the chart clearly shows, young pigs performed exceptionally well, with diets containing up to 40 percent canola meal with a strong gain-to-feed ratio. While the concentrations fed in this likely exceed the levels that would likely be needed for practical formulations, they clearly demonstrate the versatility of canola meal for nursery pigs.

Table 2. Performance results for weaned pigs given diets containing up to 40% canola meal, and formulated for net energy and standardized ileal amino acid digestibility values¹

Level of inclusion % Average Daily Gain (Kg/Day) Average Daily Feed (Kg/Day) Gain per unit of feed
0 0.59 0.96 0.59
10 0.59 0.98 0.60
20 0.61 0.94 0.64
30 0.58 0.90 0.65
40 0.57 0.84 0.68

Grower-Finisher Pigs

Studies conducted around the globe support the use of canola meal for grower-finisher swine. One major   take-home from these studies is that using the appropriate nutrient values is a key to success. A recent study shows that performance with high levels of canola meal was equal to that obtained using soybean meal. This means nutritionists can formulate lower-cost diets with canola meal (Table 4).

Table 3. Results of a 91-day grow-finish feeding study comparing canola meal to soybean meal¹

Percent of added protein from canola meal 0 33 66 100
Average daily gain, kg 0.93 0.94 0.94 0.94
Average daily feed, kg 2.49 2.59 2.67 2.63
Gain/feed 0.37 0.36 0.35 0.36
Carcass yield, % 78.0 78.6 78.2 77.8
Backfat, cm 2.03 1.89 1.78 1.88

 ¹Little et al., 2015

Breeding Swine

Canola meal has been readily accepted in diets for sows and gilts, both during gestating and lactating periods. An extensive trial conducted at the University of Manitoba concluded that feeding sows up to 30 percent canola meal supports satisfactory sow and litter performance (Table 4).

Table 4. Sow and piglet performance with diets containing 0, 15 or 30% canola meal (CM)

0% CM 15% CM 30% CM
Litter size 16.0 15.6 15.6
Piglet weight at birth, kg/piglet 1.46 1.50 1.44
Piglet weight at day 21, kg/piglet 6.6 6.7 6.6
Piglet mortality, % 22 27 26
Sow BW loss, (d21-d0), kg 5.5 6.8 5.8
Sow backfat loss, cm 2.3 2.5 2.6
Sow Weaning to estrus interval, days 4.4 4.7 4.5

Velayudhan and Nyachoti, 2016. J. Anim, Sci Vol. 94, E-Suppl, S. p 224

Recently Published Articles

Canola Meal in Pig Diets: inroads around the world – Dec 7, 2020 by Treena Hein
Because canola meal is high in protein and acreage of the crop has increased in Europe, Canada, the US and Australia, the feed ingredient has made strong inroads into the diets of many livestock species, especially dairy cattle and swine. 

New options unveiled to unlock full power of canola meal – Oct 1, 2020 by Jeff Zimmerman
A new era of opportunity has emerged for Canadian canola meal as a premium, highly sought feed ingredient across livestock sectors around the world. One of the keys to unlock its full potential lies in groundbreaking scientific advances to understand and capture the hidden nutritive power of dietary fiber, says Bogdan Slominski of the University of Manitoba.

High-protein canola meal appropriate for gestating, lactating sows – April 23, 2019 by no particular author
Results of these experiments may be of particular interest to producers in northern U.S., Canada and Europe, where economics may drive decision to use canola meal.

Optimizing the use of canola meal in swine diets for lifetime performance – 2019 by Gustavo Mejicanos
This provides a review of the research conducted at the University of Manitoba by the author

Using Canola Meal in Swine Diets – June 15, 2018
Advice on the use of canola meal in diets for nursery pigs, growers/finishers and sows from Greg Simpson, swine nutritionist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in the latest issue of Pork News & Views.

Canola meal diets may support sow, piglet performance – May 17, 2018 By Aerin Einstein-Curtis
Canola meal may provide the main dietary protein for gestating and lactating sows while maintaining sow and piglet weight gain and development, say researchers.

Canola Meal in Swine Nutrition – May 9, 2018
Canola meal can be used as a cost-effective protein substitute for other protein sources such as soya bean meal in pig diets. Here we describe the latest insights.

Canola Meal in Swine Nutrition – March 30 , 2018
Depending on its relative nutritive value and cost, it is economical to replace soya bean meal partially or fully with canola meal (CM). The literature contains enough evidence that CM has been used for more than 40 years in swine diets.

High-protein canola meal beneficial for growing pigs – by Leanne Lucas
A new study at the University of Illinois has determined that high-protein canola meal could prove to be a valuable ingredient in swine diets.

Canola meal: the protein source for today’s swine – January 1, 2017 by Brittany Dyck and Essi Evans
New research on canola meal means swine nutritionists now have more options, and pork producers can benefit from reduced feed costs while still maintaining animal performance.

Feed Nutrient Digestibility and growth performance of weaned pigs fed canola meal varying in nutritive quality – Spring 2017 Lifang Wang, Eduardo Beltranena and Ruurd Zijlstra
Imported soybean meal can be an expensive protein source. Feed inclusion of canola meal to replace 20% soybean meal did not affect feed intake and weight gain of weaned pigs.

Meeting methionine requirements across livestock species with canola meal – January 5, 2015 Industry Voice
Canola meal is a good source of methionine, but feed formulators are often surprised to find the amino acid profile of canola meal is well suited to the needs of poultry and swine

Recent Research Articles

Treatment of canola meal to improve digestibility for swine
Ileal nutrient and energy digestibility of steam-exploded canola meal in cannulated grower pigs and total tract nutrient digestibility and growth performance of diets containing steam-exploded canola meal in weaned pigs. 
Sanchez-Zannatta, J., Le Thanh, B.V., Wang, L.F., Beltranena, E., Newkirk, R.W. and Zijlstra, R.T., 2023. Animal Feed Science and Technology295, p.115518.
Improving fiber utilization from rapeseed and sunflower seed meals to substitute soybean meal in pig and chicken diets: A review. 
Lannuzel, C., Smith, A., Mary, A.L., Della Pia, E.A., Kabel, M.A. and De Vries, S., 2022. Animal Feed Science and Technology285, p.1152

Determining the optimum level of inclusion of canola meal in diets for swine
Alternative ingredients and their feeding in swine and poultry production. 
Beltranena, E. and Zijlstra, R., 2022. Archivos Latinoamericanos de Producción Animal30(Supl. 1), pp.81-94.

Understanding the nutritive contribution of canola meal for swine:
The effect of enzymatically-modified canola meal on growth performance, nutrient utilization, and gut health and function of broiler chickens. 
Niu, Y., Rogiewicz, A., Shi, L., Patterson, R., & Slominski, B. A. (2023). Animal Feed Science and Technology305, 115760.
The prebiotic effect of enzymatically-released bioactive components of canola meal fibre on gut health and growth performance of monogastric animals.
Niu, Y., 2023.
Increasing sustainability in pork production by using high inclusion levels of co-products distillers dried grains with solubles, wheat middling and canola meal doesn’t affect pig growth performance and meat quality but reduces boar taint. 
Nguyen, T.T., Olumodeji, S.G., Chidgey, K.L., Wester, T.J., Realini, C.E. and Morel, P.C., 2023. Animal bioscience36(7), p.1091.
Alternative ingredients and their feeding in swine and poultry production. 
Beltranena, E. and Zijlstra, R., 2022. Archivos Latinoamericanos de Producción Animal30(Supl. 1), pp.81-94.
Net energy value of canola meal, field pea, and wheat millrun fed to growing-finishing pigs

Woyengo, T.A. and Zijlstra, R.T., 2021. Journal of Animal Science, 99(8),p. Skab229
Growth performance and gut health of Escherichia coli-challenged weaned pigs fed canola meal-containing diet. 

Hong, J., Ariyibi, S., Antony, L., Scaria, J., Dilberger-Lawson, S., Francis, D. and Woyengo, T.A., 2021. Journal of Animal Science. , 99(8),p. Skab196
Canola meal in nursery pig diets: growth performance and gut health.

Hong, J., Ndou, S.P., Adams, S., Scaria, J. and Woyengo, T.A., 2020. Journal of Animal Science98(11), p.skaa338.
Effect of dietary supplementation of xylanase in a wheat-based diet containing canola meal on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, organ weight, and short-chain fatty acid concentration in digesta when fed to weaned pigs. 

Mejicanos, G.A., González-Ortiz, G. and Nyachoti, C.M., 2020. Journal of Animal Science98(3), p.skaa064.
Digestibility of phosphorus in heat-treated dry extruded-expelled soybean meal and solvent extracted and expeller-extracted canola meal fed to growing pigs. 

Lee, J. and Nyachoti, C.M., 2020. Journal of Animal Science98, pp.105-105.
A meta-analysis of the effects of dietary canola/double low rapeseed meal on growth performance of weanling and growing-finishing pigs. 

Hansen, J.Ø., Øverland, M., Skrede, A., Anderson, D.M. and Collins, S.A., 2020. Animal Feed Science and Technology259, p.114302
Efficacy of canola meal in diets for grower and finisher pigs reared in Vietnam

Kinh, L.V., Sy, P.V. Huyen, L.T.T. and Riley, W.R. 2019. Livestock Research for rural development31 (9)
Standardized ileal digestibility of amino acids in canola meal fed to gestating and lactating sows

Velayudhan, D.E., Hossain, M.M., Stein, H.H. and Nyachoti, C.M., 2019. Journal of animal science97(10), pp.4219-4226.
Amino acid and energy digestibility of Brassica napus canola meal from different crushing plants fed to ileal-cannulated grower pigs.

Le Thanh, B.V., Beltranena, E., Zhou, X., Wang, L.F. and Zijlstra, R.T., 2019. Animal Feed Science and Technology252, pp.83-91.
Nutrient and energy digestibility of steam-exploded canola meal in cannulated grower pigs. 

Thanh, B.V.L., Wang, L., Beltranena, E., Newkirk, R.N. and Zijlstra, R.T., 2019. PSVI-9 Journal of Animal Science97(Supplement_2), pp.206-207.
Digestibility of amino acid in full-fat canola seeds, canola meal, and canola expellers fed to broiler chickens and pigs. 

Park, C.S., Ragland, D., Helmbrecht, A., Htoo, J.K. and Adeola, O., 2019. Journal of animal science, 97(2), pp.803-812.
Impacts of rapeseed meal, canola meal and their mixture substitute for soybean meal on performance of lactating sows and their offspring.

Liu, W.C., Zhou, S.H., Kim, Y.M., Lee, S.I., Pang, H.Y. and Kim, I.H., 2019. Indian Journal of Animal Research53(1), pp.124-128.
Porcine in vitro degradation and fermentation characteristics of canola co-products without or with fiber-degrading enzymes. 

Lee, J.W., Patterson, R. and Woyengo, T.A., 2018. Animal Feed Science and Technology241, pp.133-140.
Effects of feeding canola meal or soy expeller at two dietary net energy levels on growth performance, dressing and carcass characteristics of barrows and gilts.

Smit, M.N., Landero, J.L., Young, M.G. and Beltranena, E., 2018. Animal Feed Science and Technology235, pp.166-176.
Effect of canola meal inclusion as a major protein source in gestation and lactation sow diets with or without enzymes on reproductive performance, milk composition, fecal bacterial profile and nutrient digestibility. 

Velayudhan, D.E., Hossain, M.M., Regassa, A. and Nyachoti, C.M., 2018. Animal Feed Science and Technology241, pp.141-150.
Canola meal produced from high-protein or conventional varieties of canola seeds may substitute soybean meal in diets for gestating and lactating sows without compromising sow or litter productivity

Liu, Y., Oliveira, M.S. and Stein, H.H., 2018. Journal of animal science96(12), pp.5179-5187.

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