Home-grown peas and faba beans: an acceptable alternative protein source

Take-home Message: Replacing soya bean meal in pig rations with peas and faba beans had no adverse effect on carcass quality. 

Pig producers looking to reduce their reliance on imported soya bean meal could replace it with peas and fava beans in pigs’ diets without any effect on carcass quality or skatole/indole concentration in backfat.

Scientists from the Scottish Agricultural College and BPEX found that replacing SBM in diets did not significantly increase the mean P2 values beyond the 12mm upper limit for premium carcass payment.

The scientists worked together on a trial to assess the effect of pea and faba bean dietary inclusion on pig carcass characteristics. Both feeds are a potential alternative home-grown protein sources for pig diets.

“The pig industry will only consider peas and faba beans as a viable protein source if there are no detrimental effects on performance and carcass quality,” said Lesley Smith, explaining the rationale behind her team’s work.

Pea variety Prophet or the faba bean variety Fuego were included in finisher pig diets at 75 g, 150 g, 225 g and 300 g/kg, and together with one common control diet containing SBM at 120 g/kg resulted in nine feeding treatments that were imposed on four pens of four pigs per feeding treatment.

All diets were balanced for net energy and standardised ileal digestible lysine contents. Pigs were slaughtered at a commercial slaughter house where hot weight, cold weight and fat depth (P2) were recorded.

Lean percentage and killing-out percentage were calculated for each pig. Backfat samples were taken from entire male pigs for analysis of skatole and indole, which are associated with pork ‘boar’ taint.

“We found no significant contrasts for P2, % Lean, KO% and backfat skatole levels,” said Dr Smith. “However there was a significant overall linear reduction in concentration of indole in backfat with increasing pulse inclusion.

“We also found that the mean skatole concentrations were below the currently accepted threshold levels of 0.2μg/g backfat for ‘boar’ taint detection,” he added.

Full details: Smith LA, Houdijk JGM, Homer D and Kyriazakis I: “Effects of using peas and faba beans to replace soyabean meal on carcass quality in pigs.”

For further information contact: BSAS on 01314 454508