31 March 2000

Discovering wheat quality

IS THE wheat you feed your pigs high, medium or low quality? Chances are you wont know. But Australian research may provide some answers in the next few years.

To determine wheat quality, David Cadogan, researcher at Bunge Meats, Australia, measured growth rates from 25kg liveweight over five weeks for pigs fed different wheats.

For pigs on the highest quality wheat, growth rate was 960kg/day. Medium quality wheat gave a growth rate of 918kg/day and low quality, a growth rate of only 878kg/day.

"Currently the only way of determining wheat quality is to feed it to pigs.

"Nutritional analysis of wheats can be the same but performance between them will vary dramatically," said Mr Cadogan.

Further trials show that adding xylanase enzymes to low quality wheats can improve growth rates to the same level as for high quality wheats at a cost of £2.50-£3.50/t depending on pig age.

However, wheat quality needs to be known first – a stumbling block at present, he admitted. &#42