Feed Ingredients For Poultry Diets in Australia
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Feed Ingredients For Poultry Diets in Australia
2019-04-29

Feed ingredients for poultry diets are selected for the nutrients they can provide, the absence of anti-nutritional or toxic factors, their palatability or effect on voluntary feed intake, and their cost. The key nutrients that need to be supplied by the dietary ingredients are amino acids contained in proteins, vitamins and minerals. All life functions also require energy, obtained from starches, lipids and proteins.

Feed ingredients are broadly classified into cereal grains, protein meals, fats and oils, minerals, feed additives, and miscellaneous raw materials, such as roots and tubers. These will be discussed in separate headings below. More information on measuring the nutrient composition of ingredients and the process of formulating poultry feeds is available in the section on feed formulation.

Cereal grains

The term “cereal gains” here includes cereal grains, cereal by-products and distillers dry grains with solubles (DDGS). Cereal grains are used mainly to satisfy the energy requirement of poultry. The dominant feed grain is corn, although different grains are used in various countries and regions of the world. For instance, in the US, Brazil and most Asian countries corn is by far the most important energy source for all poultry feed, whereas wheat is the predominant supplier of dietary energy for poultry diets in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Russian Federation.  Of course, in reality, a feed manufacturer will use any grain in a poultry diet if it is available at a reasonable price. For instance, in some parts of the US and China wheat is often used in place of corn if its price is below that of corn. In Australia, sorghum is a key grain during the summer season instead of wheat, while in the Scandinavian countries barley and rye are used when these grains are at the right price. Although the amounts and types of cereal grains included in poultry diets will depend largely on their current costs relative to their nutritive values, care must be taken to avoid making large changes to the cereal component of diets as sudden changes can cause digestive upsets that may reduce productivity and predispose the birds to disease.

Corn                                                                                                  Wheat                                                                                            Sorghum
  

Table 1. ME value and key nutrient composition of cereal grains

Ingredient

Protein
(%)

ME
(kcal/kg)

Calcium
(%)

Available P
(%)

Lysine (%)

Wheat

13.0

3153

0.05

0.20

0.5

Corn

8.5

3300

0.05

0.20

0.3

Sorghum

9.0

3263

0.02

0.15

0.3

Barley

11.5

2795

0.10

0.20

0.4

Rye

12.5

2734

0.05

0.18

0.5

Triticale

15.4

3110

0.05

0.19

0.4

Oats

12.0

2756

0.10

0.20

0.4


The quality of cereal grains will also depend on seasonal and storage conditions. Poor growing or storage conditions can lead to grains with a lower than expected energy content or contamination with mycotoxins or toxin-producing organisms such as fungi and ergots. Genetic and environmental factors also affect not only the content of nutrients in grains but also the nutritive value, which takes into account the digestibility of nutrients contained in an ingredient in the target animal.

In addition to the cereals themselves, their by-products, such as wheat bran, rice bran and DDGS, are used widely in poultry feed. Cereal by-products are typically high in fibre, or non-starch polysaccharides (NSP), which are poorly utilised in poultry and are low in ME.

Protein meals

Protein is provided from both vegetable and animal sources, such as oilseed meals, legumes and abattoir and fish processing by-products.

Vegetable protein sources

Vegetable protein sources usually come as meal or cake, the by-product of oilseed crops. The main oilseed crops include soybean, rapeseed/canola, sunflower, palm kernel, copra, linseed peanut and sesame seed. After the oil is extracted, the remaining residue is used as feed ingredient. Oilseed meals make up 20-30% of a poultry diet. Inclusion levels do vary among formulations for different species and for the same species in different regions.

The main vegetable protein sources used in Australian poultry diets are soybean and canola. Other sources like cottonseed, sunflower, peas and lupins may be included in poultry feed formulations if these are available at a reasonable price.

Many oilseeds and legumes contain anti-nutritive factors. Some of these anti-nutritive factors can be destroyed by heat and are used in heat-treated meals. New cultivars of some oilseeds and legumes have been developed that are naturally low in anti-nutritive factors (ANF), permitting higher levels of the unprocessed grains to be included in poultry diets without ill-effect. The typical energy values and nutrient composition of vegetable protein sources are shown in Table 2.

Table 2. ME values and Nutrient composition of vegetable protein sources

Ingredient

Protein
(%)

ME (kcal/kg)

Calcium
(%)

Available P
(%)

Lysine
(%)

Main Anti-nutritional     factor

Soybean meal

48.0

2557

0.20

0.37

3.2

Trypsin inhibitor

Canola meal

37.5

2000

0.66

0.47

2.2

Glucosinolates

Cottonseed meal

41.0

2350

0.15

0.48

1.7

Gossypol

Sunflower meal

46.8

2205

0.30

0.50

1.6

High fibre

Peas

23.5

2550

0.10

0.20

1.6

Trypsin inhibitor

Lupins

34.5

3000

0.20

0.20

1.7

Toxic alkaloid