14 March 1996

Highly digestible ration

PEAS are highly digestible, high in starch, with a reasonable level of protein, and make a good feed.

Pete Kelly, ADAS nutritionist, says peas have a dry matter protein of 25.4%, equating to a fresh weight content of 22%. "The energy protein content is about 13.5%, which compares well with wheat, which has an ME of about 13.7."

Pea inclusion rate in ruminant cattle rations can be up to 50% with cereals. Such high levels would be needed to equate the protein value of peas with soya bean meal, he says.

"For pigs, the inclusion rate of peas is a maximum of 25% because of the importance of amino acid balance. But sheep can be fed a 100% pea diet, and peas are a good protein source for balancing a straw diet." But processing can be tricky. "Peas are like bullets and cant be rolled. They need to go through a hammer mill, through a coarse sieve." &#42