Hybrid rye for corn?

Alternate feedstuff offers flexibility for farmers to break up corn-soybean crop rotation.


By Jorge Y. Perez-Palencia, Crystal L. Levesque and Robert C. Thaler, South Dakota State University; and Rebecca Brattain, KWS Cereals USA LLC

via National Hog Farmer - Nov 19, 2020


In most parts of the United States, swine diets are predominantly composed of corn, soybean meal and dried distillers grain with solubles due to price and availability. However, pigs are omnivores and have the ability to utilize a wide variety of feedstuffs including barley, oats, wheat, sorghum/milo and rye.


In recent years farmers have changed from a continual corn-soybean rotation to one including cover crops and options including hybrid rye to improve soil health and break weed cycles while at the same time providing an alternate feedstuff for pigs and cattle. Also, by having a crop that's harvested in late-summer, farmers now have an opportunity for earlier manure application as well as decreasing the time needed for corn and soybean harvest.


Since hybrid rye is different from the rye traditionally raised in the Upper Great Plains, more research is needed to evaluate hybrid rye as an acceptable feedstuff for livestock. The objective of this trial was to determine if hybrid rye can be an effective replacement for corn in finishing pig diets.


One hundred mixed-sex pigs with an average body weight of 91 pounds were assigned to one of four dietary treatments. There were five pigs per pen and with replicates per treatment. Three phases were used: 91 to 140 pounds body weight, 140 to 210 pounds body weight and 210 to 265 pounds body weight.


The four dietary treatments were the percent of corn replaced by hybrid rye. In the first phase, hybrid rye replaced zero, 17, 33 and 50% of the corn in the ration. For the second and third phases, hybrid rye replaced either zero, 33, 67 or 100% of the corn in the rations. Pigs were weighed at each phase change, and feed disappearance calculated for each phase, as well as the overall growth period.


Results and discussion ...


Implications ...


more, including table, chart