All grains produced locally in Saskatchewan, Canada this year are at risk for frost, and if not frost, sprouting because of the late harvest due to an exceptionally cool growing season. But feed grains that producers buy that may have been frozen, harvested immature or sprouted, may provide an opportunity as these crops can provide good feed quality for pigs, says Dr. Denise Beaulieu in Farmscape.
"Using and being on the lookout for low-quality grains is a good option for producers. Using byproducts and alternative crops is another way that they can decrease their feed costs," said Dr. Beaulieu, a research scientist with the Prairie Swine Center.
The scientist states that freezing and or sprouting of grains doesn't always decrease feed quality as such grains can be a very good source of both energy and protein for pigs. But that said, producers need to be looking for mould and mycotoxins, particularly if the grain is harvested immature or wet. As a result, she recommends that grain be tested.
One of the major challenges in using damaged grain, Dr. Beaulieu says, is that its digestibility is difficult to predict. "Looking at predictive equations will be something that we are looking at in our research to see if they are applicable to this year's crops," she says in the article.