A new study from Spain shows that pelleting improves the performance of broilers up to 42 days of age, and that the source of soybean meal – US, Brazil or Argentina – can also have a significant impact on growth.
In total, 3,120 broilers were used to study the effects of feed form and source of soybean meal (SBM) of the diet on growth performance of broilers kept in floor pens, report M.P. Serrano and colleagues at Ciudad Universitaria in Madrid, Spain.
In a paper published in Poultry Science, they explain that from one to 21 days of age, there were 12 treatments arranged factorially with three feed forms (mash, crumbles and pellets) and four commercial sources of soybean meal that differed in the crude protein (CP) content (48.1 and 46.2 per cent CP from the United States; USA-1 and USA-2; 47.6 per cent CP from Brazil, BRA, and 46.3 per cent CP from Argentina, ARG). From 21 to 42 days of age, diets were fed as pellets.
Diets were formulated assuming that all SBM had similar digestible amino acid content per unit of CP.
From one to to 21 days of age, chicks fed crumbles or pellets had higher (P<0.001) average daily gains than chicks fed mash. Also, chicks fed pellets had better (P<0.001) feed-to-gain ratio than chicks fed crumbles, and both were better than chicks fed mash.
However, from 21 to 42 days of age, feed-to-gain ratio was best (P<0.001) for chicks previously fed mash.
For the entire experimental period, broilers that were fed crumbles or pellets from one to 21 days of age had higher (P<0.001) average daily gains than broilers that were fed mash. Broilers that were fed pellets had better (P<0.05) feed-to-gain ratio than broilers fed mash, with broilers fed crumbles being intermediate.
Broilers fed the USA-2 meal had higher (P<0.01) average daily gains than broilers fed the BRA or the ARG meals, with broilers fed the USA-1 meal being intermediate. Feed efficiency tended (P=0.07) to be hindered in broilers fed the BRA meal.
The results show that pelleting improved growth performance of broilers from one to 42 days of age, with effects being less evident at 42 days than at 21 days of age, concluded Serrano and colleagues. They added that source of soybean meal affected growth performance and that this suggests a need for a better control of chemical composition and quality of this ingredient before diet formulation.