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, a featured speaker at the International Rapeseed Congress, July 5-9 in Saskatoon.
Three key approaches include breeding for superior yellow-seeded canola, utilizing new dehulling options and harnessing the power of new multi-carbohydrase enzyme formulations designed to break down fiber and enhance nutrient utilization for monogastric animals such as pigs and poultry.
“The dietary fiber story is really where a lot of the secret lies to truly maximize the feed value of canola meal,” Slominski says, a leading expert in carbohydrate chemistry and new feed ingredient evaluations. “The more we understand about the composition of dietary fiber and the options to address it, the more success we can achieve to benefit producers, industry and the end-use customer. Today is an exciting time with lots of advances showing excellent promise.”
As canola production has rocketed ahead over the past decade, primarily in Canada but also in the United States and other key jurisdictions, the potential has risen for more livestock operations to take advantage of canola meal as a valuable feed protein source. The main advantages of canola meal typically include good protein content, good amino acid profile, high oil content and a complex carbohydrate matrix, along with good selenium and phosphorous content. Like many vegetable protein sources, canola meal is limiting in lysine but has high levels of methionine and cysteine.
However dietary fiber is also a significant component that presents an "X Factor" with implications for nutritional value, processing approaches and feeding strategies, Slominski says.
“Our latest knowledge from research studies confirms the dietary fiber component of canola meal is actually quite high,” he explains. “This is a consequence of the small size and also the high oil content of canola seed, which is roughly 42 to 45 percent. In fact, the neutral detergent fiber and total dietary fiber values of canola meal are higher than those of soybean meal.”
Certain processing approaches such as pre-press solvent extraction and use of the desolventizer-toaster can further increase the dietary fiber content, he says. Based on the recent surveys conducted in Canada, the content of neutral detergent fiber and total dietary fiber of canola meal averaged 29.6 and 38.0% dry matter, respectively, and ranged from 27.1 to 33.4% for NDF, and from 34.8 to 41.9% for TDF.
However science and technology advances are set to help manage this component, to support higher demand and value for canola meal, Slominski says.
Superior quality characteristics of newly developed yellow-seeded B. napus canola and canola-quality B. juncea mustard have been demonstrated, he says. Although canola meal from these sources is significantly lower in dietary fiber, studies have shown similar growth performance parameters in broiler chickens and turkeys to those fed conventional canola meal and soybean meal, when diets were formulated based on digestible amino acids and available energy contents.
“This indicates that all types of canola meal could effectively replace soybean meal in poultry rations,” Slominski says. “Also, that the development of low-fiber canola would result in quantitative changes as evidenced by increased oil, protein, and sucrose contents, rather than qualitative changes due to decreased fiber content.”
With hull removal, when evaluating the meal from the tail-end dehulling process using sieving technology, a significant increase in protein content of the dehulled versus standard meal (from 36.8 to 42.0%) and a substantial reduction in the content of dietary fiber (from 30.0 to 21.4%) were noted, he says. However, when diets were balanced for major nutrients and fed to young broiler chickens and weaned pigs, no difference in growth performance was observed. “This indicates that most of canola fiber is simply a diluent with minimal effect on nutrient utilization.”
One of the most promising and fresh areas of advancement is the new higher power of certain feed enzyme formulations to unlock more nutrients from otherwise indigestible fiber, Slominski says. “Recent studies and literature reviews show that substantial gains in nutrient utilization are possible for all species with properly formulated and applied enzyme supplementation. Also, this approach can make feasible the use of full-fat canola or off-grades of canola seed that can represent an economic, well-balanced source of protein.”
Because canola meal is a complex feed ingredient with multiple hard-to-digest components, research trials by Slominski and others indicate that multi-carbohydrase formulations are more effective than single enzymes. Specifically, Slominski says fiber components of canola meal, including non-starch polysaccharides and glycoproteins, may serve as substrates for multi-carbohydrase enzymes and support the release of additional energy. This is documented by increased apparent metabolizable energy of 100-150 kcal/kg of canola meal.
"Multi-carbohydrase technology represents the leading-edge of our science-based knowledge on the most effective use of feed enzymes," Slominski says. "It leverages what we have learned from many years of research to offer a much more comprehensive and sophisticated option than traditional approaches."