Use of rice in poultry diets
Rice is an important source of carbohydrates and protein and provides high metabolizable energy. Asia is the largest producer and exporter continent of this cereal, and also a consumer, where China, India, Bangladesh or Indonesia stands out
Since the beginning of 2020, the confluence of multiple social, economic and logistic factors has produced a very marked increase in the price of cereals in animal feed. This has been especially noticeable in the case of basic cereals used in poultry diets, such as corn or some legumes such as soybeans. The case of corn is especially important, since it is a cereal with percentages of inclusion above 50% in all phases of feeding in broilers and laying hens, and the impact on the total cost of feed is very high. The increase varies both depending on the national productive capacity of a country, and its import capacity, where there are countries that have suffered increases of up to 80% in the price of this cereal. Therefore, in order to guarantee the economic viability of the farms, many producers have had to appeal to the use of locally produced cereals, or alternative cereals.
Rice in poultry diets
Rice is an important source of carbohydrates and protein and provides high metabolizable energy. Asia is the largest producer and exporter continent of this cereal, and also a consumer, where China, India, Bangladesh or Indonesia stands out. Production is also important in countries in other regions, such as Brazil, which exports globally. Although this production is mainly intended for human consumption, the factors described above have increased its use in animal feed.
Among the types of rice, integral rice is the one that several studies have reported with the greatest benefits for the poultry industry, given its high percentages of carbohydrates, which provide adequate energy, and also moderate percentages of protein. In addition, the bran layer that preserves this type of rice has various nutrients that favor the growth of birds. Worth mentioning the varied composition in amino acids, with levels higher than the reference ones. The amino acids contained in integral rice cover the basic needs of birds, such as the development of structural tissues, mucous membranes, and various metabolic functions, among others. Some studies show that integral rice has an even more balanced amino acid composition than other cereals such as wheat, corn and some legumes.
It is also important to take into account the content of non-starch polysaccharides and fiber, on which digestibility depends. In the case of integral rice, it contains moderate levels of fiber (especially hemicellulose), β-glucans and arabinoxylans, to be taken into consideration when including exogenous enzymes.
The high prices of cereals in the current global scenario have forced the search for alternative cereals to soybeans and corn in the poultry industry, in order to maintain the profitability of the farms. Rice, due to its carbohydrate content and the contribution of metabolizable energy, is postulated as an interesting alternative to corn in some regions of the world, and also provides diversity of amino acids that cover the growth and production needs of broiler and laying hens.