Grains are the major energy source in most animal diets. The energy levels are related to the amount of starch in the grain. The ranking from highest to lowest in energy is maize, sorghum, wheat, barley then oats. For more information on trading in Grains see the Commodities page.
Barley can be included in the diets of most classes of animals as an energy source. Its protein content does not vary as widely as other grains. However, it has a higher fibre level and a lower energy level, which will limit its use in diets of certain animals and stages.
The feeding value of barley for pigs and poultry is inferior to other cereal grains. This is due mainly to its lower energy content and its variable content of largely indigestible carbohydrate components (indigestible B-glucans, fibre).
Barley may be used as the sole grain in diets for all classes of pigs, cattle, horses, sheep and goats.
Besides removing the hull, various other methods of processing have been used to improve its feeding value. These include soaking in water, treatment with enzymes, steam pressure and pelleting. Pelleting barley has been shown to improve performance and feed utilisation in pigs and this has been essentially due to the increased intake and reduced wastage observed with pellets. The other methods have given variable results.
DIRECTIONS FOR USE
- The inclusion of barley in diets for meat chickens can significantly depress feed consumption and growth rate.
- Laying hens can use barley much better than younger birds and this is reflected in the higher metabolisable energy in older birds.
- Incorporating barley as the major grain source into layer diets may reduce egg production, increase feed consumption, significantly worsen the feed conversion ratio and lower yolk colour scores.
- Including an enzyme along with barley in diets for poultry can reduce the negative impacts on production. The enzyme can improve the digestibility of the carbohydrates in barley.
- A buffer should be added to sheep and cattle diets to help reduce acidosis.
SUGGESTED MAXIMUM INCLUSION RATES IN TOTAL DIET
|SPECIES||MAX. INCLUSION RATES|
|PIGS - Weaner||10%|
|PIGS - Grower||40%|
|PIGS - Adult||70%|
|POULTRY - Broiler||15%|
|POULTRY - Layer||20%|