Importance of wheat in animal feed and production
Wheat is a raw material used for feed and animal production worldwide for its nutritional and economic value.
Wheat is a raw material used for feed and animal production worldwide for its nutritional and economic value.
Índice de Contenidos
- 1 Wheat production in the world
- 2 Nutritional values of wheat in animal feed
- 3 Use of wheat in ruminant animal production
- 4 Use of wheat in swine production
- 5 Wheat use in poultry farming
- 6 Wheat anti-nutritional factors
- 7 Recommendations for the use of wheat in animal production.
- 8 Wheat price: a key factor
- 9 Conclusions
Wheat is one of the most widely used raw materials worldwide. This product is used both for human food (wheat flour) and animal feed (wheat bran). It is one of the three most-produced kinds of cereal in the world, together with corn and rice. Wheat belongs to the genus Triticum spp. of the Poaceae family or also called Gramineae, which constitute the most important group in feeding sector.
Wheat production in the world
Among the largest countries producers of wheat in the world, in the Top 5 per metric ton are located: European Union (135,800,000), China (134,250,000), India (107,592,000), Russia (85,300,000), United States (49,691,000) and Canada (35,183,000). It is estimated that for the 2020/2021 period, world wheat production would be around 763.9 million tons.
As for Latin America, in the TOP 5 largest wheat producers, the following countries are located by metric tons: Argentina (17,500,000), Brazil (6,300,000), Chile (1,365,000), Uruguay (745,000), Bolivia (310,000) and Colombia (5,000).
Cereals are one of the main sources of energy and nutrients for animal and human food and have been used historically for centuries. Among the cereals, wheat is one of the most important worldwide, from which the main product called flour and by-products called bran and germ are obtained. Wheat flour is mainly used in human food in bakery processes. On the other hand, wheat bran is a product intended for animal feed due to its high content of amino acids and a high percentage of protein superior to other existing cereals. This wheat bran (technically called pericarp) consists mainly of the external parts of the wheat grain after processing.
Nutritional values of wheat in animal feed
Wheat is one of the cereals with the highest protein content available for animal feed, being higher than corn. In addition, it has a high energy value with 3.0 to 3.5 Mcal ME (Megacalories of Metabolizable Energy), which constitutes an important energy source in animal feed. Starch, which is a digestible polysaccharide, is the most abundant carbohydrate in wheat.
On the other hand, it is recommended that wheat have moisture values below 14% to avoid problems related to digestibility and contamination by mycotoxin-producing fungi. The amount of lipids in wheat is characterized by a low value compared to corn, which is reported as an advantage since it reduces rancidity. In addition, wheat bran is characterized by increasing the palatability of the feed in which is added as a raw material.
Finally, wheat presents high fiber values with 11%, higher compared to corn. This portion of fiber contains between 4-5% of pentosans and 0.5-1% of ß-glucans, which can have benefits if the diet is supplemented with multienzymatic products such as Alquerzim.
Wheat bran is considered an important source of minerals such as zinc, selenium, iodine, potassium (Table 2) which are important elements in the diet as they participate in multiple physiological functions such as the immune system. On the other hand, wheat bran provides vitamins such as thiamine, B6, folate, vitamin E, and carotenoids (pigments).
Use of wheat in ruminant animal production
Wheat is an excellent feed source for polygastric animals such as ruminants. On the one hand, it has high protein values if the cultivation and growth conditions were adequate, reaching up to 18%. This high amount of protein together with a high energy value makes wheat a good alternative for feeding ruminants.
On the other hand, wheat has a large amount of fiber, which facilitates the digestive processes in ruminants. However, it is recognized that the wheat supplied is low in lignin and high in sugars, so its table consumption should be limited. The maximum consumption of wheat for ruminants is 4 kg/day distributed in several rations to prevent ruminal acidosis. Due to its carbohydrate composition, where starch is the most important, wheat has a high fermentation in ruminants, even higher than that of corn. In addition, it is recommended to administer the wheat dry in the ration and well shredded to improve nutrient absorption in ruminants.
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Use of wheat in swine production
In swine, wheat bran has been used for its nutritional properties and on pig digestion. Wheat bran is added to the diet of pigs for its contribution to intestinal health and for enhancing the intestinal microbiota. In addition, the bacteria present in the large intestine of pigs can ferment the fiber present in wheat bran to produce volatile fatty acids that the animals can use as a source of energy.
However, it is recommended to supplement the wheat bran with enzymatic products that improve the digestibility of this raw material such as Alquerzim. For example, enzymes called xylanases increase available energy, protein, and dry matter digestibility, thus increasing yield.
Pigs do not produce sufficient enzymes to break down non-starch polysaccharide (NSP) chains. Therefore, these xylanases allow processing these compounds, which increases the production of volatile fatty acids and improves the availability of mono- and polysaccharides in the intestine (Martinez-Aispuro, 2017).
Wheat use in poultry farming
In poultry farming, the use of wheat is common in Europe, Canada, and Australia due to the shortage of corn during some seasons. It should be considered that wheat has more crude protein and amino acids such as lysine and tryptophan, but less energy compared to corn. In addition, wheat contains less Vitamin A and biotin compared to corn. For these reasons, it is not recommended to include a huge amount or for prolonged periods. In such a case, it is recommended to supplement the diet to avoid nutritional deficiencies in the poultry.
However, wheat is an excellent alternative for poultry feed because it facilitates the formation of pellets since it contains gluten, so binders are not needed. Likewise, trials have been carried out in broilers fed with whole wheat (Plavnik, 2002) where a better efficiency of the feed supplied was observed thanks to the utilization of nutrients of commercial feeds.
Wheat anti-nutritional factors
Wheat can have anti-nutritional factors that affect the nutrition of animals whose diet is composed of this raw material. These factors are endogenous to wheat and animals have difficulties in its digestion and utilization.
Among some of these most outstanding factors are: Protease inhibitor, Phytohemagglutinins, Phytic acid, Estrogenic factors, Flatulence factor, Amylase inhibitor, Cholinesterase inhibitor.
Therefore, it is recommended to supply products based on enzymatic combinations that facilitate the digestion of cereals such as wheat, such as Alquerzim. This product, developed by Biovet, is specifically designed according to the animal species, the productive stage, and the diet. So that, in those diets based on wheat, Alquerzim facilitates the digestion of this cereal thanks to the capacity of the enzymes it contains to improve digestibility through the degradation of anti-nutritional factors such as the non-starch polysaccharides present in this cereal.
This multi-enzyme product has shown positive effects in field trials. Supplying Alquerzim contributes to the metabolism and processing of the high amount of nutrients of animal feed. Therefore, animals supplemented with this additive have higher weight gain and lower feed conversion rates.
Recommendations for the use of wheat in animal production.
Wheat bran administered for ruminant and swine feeding requires some conditions and analysis to ensure its quality and nutritional value.
- Evaluate bacterial populations in wheat, especially Salmonella and Clostridium.
- Determine the moisture and heat content of wheat at the mill level.
- Measure starch and fiber content which are important energy and digestibility components of ruminant and swine diets.
- Check the percentage of lipids (fat) as this is an indication of possible rancidity of the wheat bran.
- Ensure that the grain is dry and crushed to improve the digestibility and absorption of its nutrients at the intestinal level.
- Constantly monitor wheat bran to avoid fungal growth due to excess moisture, especially for the appearance of mycotoxins that have clinical and systemic effects in ruminants and swine.
Wheat price: a key factor
Wheat is one of the most important raw materials at the international level for its use in livestock production. It is also one of the most important commodities within the agricultural group. For this reason, the price of wheat on the stock market is influenced by factors such as supply and demand, stocks and inventories, and inflation. These factors make wheat highly volatile, a high return, and a commodity that can be traded quickly.
By 2021, the price of wheat has fluctuated due to weather events in the countries producing this raw material. For example, droughts in Canada have affected part of the world production and in France the rainy season affected wheat production.
On the other hand, China is a major importer of wheat. In September, China reduced imports compared to the same period last year, due to the high prices recorded. As a result, imports into China of 640,000 tons of wheat were recorded in September 2021, that represents a drop of 44.8% compared to the same month in 2020.
Meanwhile, the European Union, one of the world’s largest producers of wheat, the beginning of 2021 increased its exports. This positive market for Europe was due to high selling prices in Russia, which is the world’s leading wheat exporter.
Wheat prices in September reached record highs in 8 recent years. In 2020 alone, wheat prices increased by 41%, presenting challenges for the international livestock sector.
Wheat is one of the most widely produced cereals worldwide. This food belongs to the genus Triticum spp. and constitutes a source of food for humans and production animals. The wheat grain is processed, and two important products are obtained: wheat flour, which is used in human food, and wheat bran, which is used for animal feed.
Wheat bran is recognized for its nutritional properties where it has a high energy and protein value, low fat, and lignin values. It is also an important source of minerals and vitamins for animals.
In ruminants, wheat bran is a feed with good digestibility and nutrient absorption. However, its table consumption should be limited to prevent ruminal acidosis since it is highly fermentable. Meanwhile, in swine, it is a feed source that should be supplemented with enzymes to facilitate its digestion and to take advantage of all the nutrients in an adequate way.
In poultry, wheat bran is widely used in Europe and North America. It is a good alternative compared to corn but must be balanced.
Wheat can have anti-nutritional factors that must be counteracted with multi-enzymatic products such as Alquerzim to ensure its digestibility and utilization.
In addition, the price of wheat is of great importance in the world market since it is listed on the stock exchange. Therefore, it has a great impact on the economy of the main importers and exporters of this raw material.
Finally, some recommendations should be followed for the processing and supply of wheat bran in ruminants and swine. These strategies favor feed hygiene, prevent diseases and improve production yields when wheat is used in the diet.