By Bruce Cochrane.
The Canadian Feed Research Centre has developed an experimental puck shaped straw fibre based feed supplement for gestating sows housed in groups.
Scientists with the University of Saskatchewan, working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, are in the midst of feeding trials to assess the value of fibre derived from wheat and oat straw in increasing satiety among group housed gestating sows to reduce the incidence of fighting over feed while helping maintain proper body condition.
John Smillie, the Pant Manager at the Canadian Feed Research Centre at North Battleford, says the straw provides fibre to the sows but, because straw is light and fluffy, it doesn't lend itself to flow through a normal commercial feed processing system.
John Smillie-Canadian Feed Research Centre:
The process we use, it involves compacting the straw into these puck shapes.
We're applying somewhere between 2,000 and 2.500 PSI to the straw as it goes through the chamber and it's hydraulically compacted into the pucks.
The temperature gets to about 80 degrees C.
Therefore there's both pressure and heat treatment to the fibres within the straw, hopefully making the fibres more digestible.
The final product is circular.
It's like a hockey puck but it's a little bit smaller, about and inch and a half to an inch a quarter diameter and a quarter to half inch thick.
It's created by putting the straw into the body of the compaction machine.
It falls through a hole into the hydraulic unit which is pretty much like a baler, where we then compact the straw into these little pucks as they are pushed out through a cylindrical chamber and collected in a pail.
Smillie says just enough product is being produced to accommodate the feeding trials but, if they prove successful, he's confident the process could be scaled up.