Danes try out whole-grain for pigs
A DANISH research programme looking at how to enrich pig diets through the use of whole grain wheat could, if successful, provide some new opportunities for the countrys contractors and farmers.
The system involves harvesting wheat using a Shelbourne Reynolds stripper header attached to a self-propelled forage harvester. Wheat is harvested at normal moisture contents – 16% – and the grain, chaff, flag leaf all pass through the foragers cutting unit which chops the material down to 50mm before blowing it into a trailer.
Resulting material is then taken to an on-floor store and, if required dried conventionally to reduce moisture content to storage levels.
The research work is being funded jointly by the Danish Ministry of Agriculture, a feed compounder, the Danish contractors union and Shelbourne Reynolds with the object of improving the nutritional quality of winter wheat fed pigs.
Researchers are investigating how extra fibre in a pig diet will improve pig health and lower ration costs.
During the trial a 5.4m (18ft) stripper header linked to a 300hp John Deere forager harvested a crop of Ritmo winter wheat with a 16% moisture content and averaged 4.3ha/hr (10.5 acres) at a working speed of 8kph. Straw remaining in the field was later mowed, baled and sold to a straw burning power station.
If the feeding trials are successful and the signs are that they will be, the new harvesting system could extend the operating season of forage harvesters significantly.
Stripper header and forage harvester – a combination now being used in a Danish research project to improve and reduce the cost of pig diets. Work rate is in excess of 4ha/hour (10 acres).