Small grain legumes as a protein and roughage source in organic feeds for pigs and poultry
The use of early harvested alfalfa and red clover (small grain legumes) as valuable feedstuff for pigs and poultry is studied. Both legumes are processed either to whole crop silage or to dried leaf mass.
The early harvested aboveground biomass of small grain legumes contain considerable amounts of protein and amino acids, which are needed in pig and poultry feeding. Feeding trials using alfalfa silage for fattening pigs, broiler chicken and laying hens showed that small grain legumes have a great potential of eco conform feeding of monogastric animals if adapted feeding strategies are applied. They do not only contribute considerable amounts of protein and amino acids. In addition, they comply with the regulations on the use of roughage for organic pigs and chickens. Since leaves contain more protein and less fiber than the stems, a high-quality protein feed can be obtained by separating the leaf and the stem. To provide highly valuable feedstuffs derived from small grain legumes, processing solutions must be developed and put into practice.
This approach can contribute to achieving a 100% organic feeding on basis of domestic feed. It would therefore support the aims of organic farming, which feels explicitly committed to the principles of regional material cycles, also for pig and poultry feeding.
6.2016 - 3.2021
Project funding number: 2815OE079
Funding program: Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau und andere Formen nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft (BÖLN)
Project status: ongoing