Feed Barley

Project lead:  Dr. Ruurd T. Zijlstra, University of Alberta
Timeline: 2019-2023 
Total Funding: $431,941 
Funders:  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC): $302,357 
  Alberta Barley: $63,496
  SaskBarley Development Commission: $63,496
  Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association (MWBGA): $2,592

Feed grains remain the default market for crops after human consumption and biofuels. Though we know that barley holds great value to the livestock feed industry, as it can provide feed energy and it has the potential to enhance gut health of animals, it is currently only evaluated for swine diets based on its energy value.

Increasing the use of barley as feed for energy and gut health would be good for both the feed industry and for the long-term sustainability of the barley industry.

This research aims to enhance the competitiveness of barley for swine diets by substantiating how and why barley provides value-added benefits to swine diets as more than just a source of energy. For example, barley could help eliminate the need for antibiotics as a growth promotant in livestock diets by serving as a prebiotic, thereby meeting the increasing market demand for meat produced without antibiotics. Using barley as feed could also allow for higher inclusion levels of co-products such as dried distiller’s grains and solubles.

The impact of this research will be an increase in demand for barley as feed. Promoting barley as a healthy ingredient for feed could potentially open up a market of 25 million piglets annually in Canada alone.