| ||When it comes to feeding heated canola seed to ruminant animals such as cattle or sheep, there are a few things to keep in mind.
“Canola seed that has heated might be discoloured and have a smell to it, but can still be used,” says Barry Yaremcio, beef forage specialist, Alberta Ag-Info Centre, Stettler. “If there is a lot of mould, you should have it evaluated before you feed it, but most of the time it can be used in rations.”
Protein content can be anywhere from 20-24 per cent and energy content is higher than barley grain due to the amount of oil (115 per cent TDN (total digestible nutrients) versus 83 per cent TDN for barley. “This means than feeding one lb. of canola seed could replace about 1.5 lbs. of barley in the ration.”
Processing through a roller mill or a hammer mill can be a problem due to the high oil content, which can gum up the rollers or the hammers and screens. “However, research from the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission indicates that digestibility and energy of the whole seed is only ten per cent less than the processed version.”
The biggest concern with the canola seed is the high fat content which can be up to 42 per cent. “If you exceed a total of six per cent fat in a beef ration it can interfere with the rumen function. Even though the rumen turns properly, the rumen material does not. Feed intakes go down and chances of bloat go up.” Yaremcio says that when putting a ration together, the recommendation is for no more than three lbs. of canola seed per day for mature cows and about 1.5 lbs. for 800 weight backgrounding calves.
“However, you can’t just start with three lbs; you should feed one lb. for three to five days and watch the manure and make sure everything is normal. For the next five days, go up to two lbs., and then after the full ten days go to the full three lbs. for the cows. The incremental increase is the same for the steers. “
For more information, call the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM, 310-3276.