Feeding study

Rye reduces salmonella


A higher proportion of rye in the feed is good for pigs. This not only benefits intestinal health, but also improves the carbon footprint of pig farming.

Reduced risk of salmonella in stables, improved intestinal health, increased animal welfare and reduced CO2 emissions: the increased use of rye in pig feed has positive effects. This is the result of the four-year research project "6-R concept", informs the German Raiffeisenverband (DRV). The scientists conclude that rye has high potential for sustainable and healthy pig feeding. This proves the results of the first field study. "Rye is accepted by animals in larger quantities even at high performance levels. A high proportion of hybrid rye in mixed feed can significantly reduce salmonella contamination in the barn in this context," explains Dr. Andreas von Felde, Head of Product Management Feeding at KWS Lochow GmbH.

"The studies prove that the high proportions of water-soluble carbohydrates in rye are increasingly converted to volatile fatty acids by the bacteria at the end of the digestive tract. This is good for the intestinal mucosa and makes it more difficult for salmonella to colonize," explains Prof. Dr. Christian Visscher, Director of the Institute of Animal Nutrition, University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover Foundation. In addition, research results show that rye promotes the intestinal health of the animals and ultimately leads to higher animal welfare and thus to greater animal well-being.

Researching together

The "6-R Concept" research project entitled "Regional renaissance of rye and rapeseed to reduce problems in plant cultivation and animal production by re-evaluating ingredients and using them specifically to promote environmental, animal and consumer protection" was initiated by seed producer KWS and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Numerous institutions were involved in the project: In addition to the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover, the Free University of Berlin and the University of Bonn, as well as KWS, it included DRV and its member companies Raiffeisen Kraftfutterwerk Mittelweser Heide and Viehvermarktungsgemeinschaft Aller-Weser-Hunte.

Closely linked to the "6-R Project" is the ongoing "Rye-SaFe" science project. This project is investigating whether salmonella contamination can already be reduced in sow husbandry and piglet production by feeding a rye-based diet. Once again, DRV member companies are involved in this project, as are the seed breeder KWS, the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover and other partners.

DRV Chief Executive Dr. Henning Ehlers also views the study results positively: "Pig farmers are looking for new methods of feeding their animals in a healthy and more sustainable way. Domestic rye can contribute significantly to this." He makes clear: "Rye-emphasized feed mixtures can improve the CO2 balance of pig farming. Hybrid rye uses less fertilizer, crop protection and water in cultivation compared to other cereals, offering an attractive alternative in crop rotation."