Broiler farming is a sustainable and healthy animal-based food production due to its high efficiency, low climate gas emission and nutritious and low-fat products. Cereals usually constitute the majority of the diet, and mainly consists of low-fibre cereals such as maize and wheat. Use of such cereals for broilers is the most effective way of producing human foods when food preferences and/or compositional characteristics prohibits the use of these cereals as human foods directly. However, some areas may not be suitable for the cultivation of these cereals, such as in Norway, where more hardy cereals such as barley and oats are grown. These cereals are characterized by a high content of fibre in the form of hulls and thick cell walls, which broilers have a lower tolerance for than other farm animals. The soluble cell wall fibres may have antinutritive properties through trapping nutrients inside cell walls or in a viscous network of fibres in the gut content. The insoluble fibres are mainly inert components which dilutes the diet and results in an unfavourable housing environment through high excreta production. However, it has also been demonstrated that a certain level of hulls is beneficial for nutrient digestibility and gut health through stimulating gut development.
Thus, the aim of this project is to manipulate fibre content of barley and oats, and find the optimal content for using large quantities of theses cereals in broiler diets without negative effects on performance or health. Hulls content will be manipulated through dehulling and/or the use of hulless varieties, while the content of soluble fibres will be minimized through targeted feed processing and maximalization of exogenous fibre-degrading enzyme activity in the anterior digestive tract. In addition, starch and protein digestion dynamics will studied in detail to gain fundamental insight into the mechanisms which may explain the exceedingly large digestion and absorption capacity of broilers.
Broiler farming is a sustainable and healthy animal production due to its high efficiency, low climate gas emission and nutritious and low-fat products. However, imported cereals like maize and wheat constitute a large part of the diet, while barley and oats are not used to any extent, despite being the most important feed cereals produced in Norway. A high use of imported cereals damages the image of an important section in Norwegian agriculture. But equally important is that this practice may also pose a risk to the production system in Norway in a future situation where requirement for barley and oats for other animal productions decrease, e.g. due to production changes or reduced consumption of red meat. In such a situation, broiler farmers must be able to base their diets on barley and oats if the system is to avoid oversupply of theses cereals.
To achieve the aim of a 50 % reduction in the use of imported cereals in broiler diets by an increased use of Norwegian barley and oats, we will identify obstacles to a high use of barley and oats, and will carry out research to overcome these obstacles. Through research into the use of dehulled cereals and improved methods for enzymatic removal of soluble fibre, we will optimize fibre levels in the diets in regards to performance, nutrient utilization and gut health. Further, we will study differences in digestion and flow dynamics of starch, protein and fibre between cereal species to further optimize diets based on barley and oats, e.g. through manipulation of feed processing conditions. In the latter stage of this project, diets will be adapted to commercial use through tests performed at poultry farms, followed by commercial implementation through research partner cooperation and targeted general communication. In addition to assessing all commercially important production parameters, detailed analysis of nutrient flow will be carried out, as well as state-of-the-art microbiota analyses.
FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri