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Canola Meal in Swine Diets


Canola Meal in Swine Diets

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.

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.

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).

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).

Additional Resources

Want more information on canola meal and swine? Check out some of the resources below:

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

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