New canola variety could open up livestock feed market

Feed trials have confirmed that a new canola trait developed by Dow AgroSciences results in a meal that can be substituted for soybean meal in hog and poultry diets.

“This really gives us a way to reposition canola,” said Dave Dzisiak, commercial leader of grains and oils with Dow.

“It really opens a brand new huge market for canola that wasn’t very accessible to us before.”

The ProPround trait, which was 15 years in development, produces a meal that is closer in quality to soybean meal than canola meal.

Dow’s high oleic canola oil made from its Nexera varieties will soon be facing stiff competition from high oleic soybeans. Dzisiak said having a meal that’s comparable to soybeans will help the company maintain production premiums for growing Nexera varieties.

The knock on canola meal has been that it is low in protein and high in fibre. It is suitable for dairy cow rations, where it is fed to two out of every three U.S. dairy cows, but it is a poor fit in hog and poultry rations.

Canola meal is used in some swine rations but only at a five percent inclusion rate.

ProPound meal has 44 percent protein content compared to 37 percent in commodity canola meal and 46 percent in soybean meal.

“We were also able to significantly reduce some particular fibre fractions within the seed,” said Dzisiak.

There has been a 35 percent reduction in one particular fibre family.

The result is a canola meal that has 20 percent more protein and 10 percent more energy than regular canola meal.

ProPound was tested in feed trials by Hans Stein and Carl Parsons, two leading animal nutrition researchers at the University of Illinois.

“(They) were able to show that ProPound could replace all of the soybean meal in a swine ration without any impact on animal performance,” said Dzisiak.


As well, it could do so at a cost of $3 to $5 per tone lower than soybean meal.

“You can have a material improvement in the profitability of a swine producer,” he said.

Florian Possberg, chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board and president of Polar Pork Farms, said ProPound could be a “big deal” for the hog sector.

Polar Pork Farms uses canola meal in its finishing and dry sow rations because it is two-thirds the price of soybean meal. It can be fed to older animals, but there is not enough protein in the meal for younger hogs.

“We would love to have a product that we could use in all our rations, including nursery and lactation rations,” he said.

Possberg believes the product could save swine farmers as much as $20 per tonne in baby pig rations and $5 per tonne in lactation rations.

“That would be a real advantage,” he said.

There would be significant transportation savings because there are so many crushers located in Saskatchewan instead of trucking soybeans in from the United States.

It would also be far more convenient to work with one protein ingredient and kick soybeans completely out of the rations.

“Unless this new canola meal is priced way up there, it would really work for us,” said Possberg.

Dzisiak said the price has yet to be determined but it would be an uphill battle to displace soybean meal in animal rations without a compelling value proposition for hog and poultry producers.

“You can’t go in and say, ‘here’s canola meal at the same price as soy.’ We needed to have a real incentive in there.”


Chickens are more sensitive to canola meal. The University of Illinois researchers found they could use ProPound at up to a 24 percent inclusion rate without any effect on bird performance. The cost savings were similar to those in the hog trials.

Dow also conducted feeding trials on turkeys that were led by Sally Noll of the University of Minnesota. She found ProPound could displace all of the soybean meal in turkey rations.

“That might be where we have some of the best value,” said Dzisiak.

It’s because soybean meal causes gastrointestinal issues in turkeys if there is too much of it in a ration, so turkey farmers have to incorporate other higher-cost protein ingredients in their rations. ProPound could displace those higher-cost protein ingredients.

Dow has been in some early outreach discussions with end use customers who are excited by the prospect of the first significant new protein ingredient since distillers grain hit the market.

The company is working with an undisclosed Canadian crusher that will be producing large samples of ProPound meal to be tested by customers this fall.

Dow has introduced the trait into one of its Nexera lines and will be contracting more than 100,000 acres with growers this fall. The trait has been fully approved by regulators.

It will expand into commercial scale production of the crop next year. The trait will be included in both Roundup Ready and Clearfield lines of its latest Nexera hybrids. The goal is to eventually include the trait in all Nexera varieties.

Dzisiak said the canola industry needs a new market for its meal because the product is reaching the saturation point with the dairy industry.

The Canola Council of Canada has set a target of 25 million tonnes of canola production by 2025, which represents a 50 percent growth over current production.

Canada’s crush capacity has doubled over the last five years, and Dzisiak expects it to grow another 25 to 50 percent.

That means crushers will have to find a home for a lot more meal, and ProPound will help them do that, he said.



  • Denise

    Gestation stalls- One of most evil inventions man has ever made.

    • John Fefchak

      “Industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history;

      What makes the existence of domesticated farm animals particularly cruel is not just the way in which they die but above all how they live”.(the guardian)

      • Denise

        So true, John.
        Many consumers are still unaware of the painful existence these poor animals endure. If the general public really knew everything, they surely would not want to play any part in this distasteful experiment.
        Humans have this unusual characteristic of being able to desensitize themselves to the pain and suffering of others, (that includes animals), when it suits their financial interests. Big corps do it all the time. Social pressure, and/or beliefs can influence their decisions, too.
        However, some of the less fortunate people working in these factory barns (out of necessity to support their families) have a hard time convincing themselves that it is okay to treat animals this way and often end up needing counselling to deal with the stress associated with this kind of work. They can get physically ill, as well.
        Now we find out that veterinarians have very high incidences of suicide.They went to vet school because they cared about animals and wanted to help them when they got sick or were injured.. NOT to bear witness to animals dealing with pain and suffering in factory barns… Totally unnecessary.
        The vets know what is expected of them to do in these barns.. Just keep quiet,do your job, and don’t rock the boat…
        They end up devoting a lot of their time to help support a system that cares only about the cheapest and bleakest way to use these animals for profits. It must be very disheartening for them, although they will never say so,out loud.
        Just goes to show you that this system isn’t just affecting factory animals in negative ways. It is affecting people in negative ways,too.
        Of course, there are better ways to raise factory animals. Most of us know that. However, that would mean making some structural changes and maybe working closer with the animals,on a daily basis.
        It certainly would help improve the hog industry’s public image if they showed some mercy and ‘seriously’ took the action needed to improve the living conditions of these animals.
        What will it take to bring about this change?

  • John Fefchak

    I often wonder if people realize just how saturated the province of Manitoba is with
    hog factories? Manitoba is a province with a large area and over 100 thousand lakes.
    However, considering the “majority of people” live, work at industry and farming for nearly 300 miles along the US border and north for generally about 200 miles, we are concentrated in about 25% of the province area, for obvious reasons.

    You will get the drift of the situation when you see this map.

  • Harold

    Hogs can be produced locally, and sold locally, and feed Canadians locally, all across Canada. What I am seeing is a picture of hogs being sickened and mistreated owing to big corporation and their greed to feed the world for high profit. Fortunate for the industry, an overwhelming number Canadians do not understand what they are eating and at what cost. If they did, I would be rest assured that the entire Industry would change. If their is a long distance to travel it should be backwards. The same direction we travel to get home. From a distance, arrival is still ahead in time. Perhaps we should be reminded that industry are not advocates of animals and health: they are business people. As illustrated by Gestation stalls (Denise) and oversaturated Hog Factories (John Fefchak) can it become any clearer. Factory pharming.

  • Denise

    Here is another gem from the great minds spinning out ideas on how to address PEDv. Instead of dealing with the REAL reasons more virulent pig diseases are on the rise, they come up with this:
    Just what we need,aye? More poisons added to hog slurry lagoons and injected into our always compromised soil and waterways.