The nutritional value of this culture is proven by research and experience of many farms. It is practiced to add green mass, grain, amaranth meal to feed for farm animals and poultry, and feed production using amaranth is considered a promising direction. Skeptics claim that this practice is simply the result of savings, and experienced farmers cite examples of preventing the death of animals and birds through feed with amaranth.
Protein and other valuable components of amaranth
Amaranth among traditional forage plants for nutritional properties is recognized as the absolute champion in the content of high-quality vegetable protein. The grain of this culture contains 16-18% protein.
As a result of research, it has been proved that the protein contained in amaranth is superior to any vegetable and animal proteins, as well as the biological value of milk proteins. At the same time, it is easily digested, since it is well balanced in composition of amino acids.
It was also established that, according to the nutrient content, amaranth seeds are more valuable than, for example, wheat. They also contain large amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, which are important elements in any diet.
Amaranth seeds are characterized by a high content of vitamins B and A, E and C, and here their content is twice as high as in oat bran, for example. It is also important that a large amount of vitamin C and carotene makes amaranth food especially valuable, and the animals and birds that receive it almost never get sick, and this has a positive effect on the quality of the final product.
Amaranth grain contains 60% starch and 8% fat. In the study of green mass at different phases of plant development, it was established that it contains 18-25% dry matter, 3.0-3.9% crude protein, 0.5-0.65% fat, 3.9-5.45 % of fiber, 0.46-0.535% of calcium, 0.004-0.055% of phosphorus, 40 mg of carotene. Interestingly, the green mass of corn in the phase of milky-wax ripeness of grain contains 7.5-8% protein, and this is 2 times less than in amaranth. If we talk about essential amino acids in amaranth, then 1 kg of dry matter of the vegetative mass contains lysine 7.1-7.15 g, and in corn – only 2.8 g, i.e. 2.4 times less.
From the practice of feeding with amaranth
In livestock and poultry farming, grain and green mass of amaranth are often used, and they, as a rule, serve as raw materials for obtaining valuable products. In particular, fresh green mass has a high nutritional value and is an excellent food for pigs and poultry, and mixtures prepared with it and cereals, have been successfully used for the diet of cattle and sheep.
It is also noted that the green mass of amaranth from the stalk phase to flowering is well eaten by pigs. Here it is advisable to make a small comparison. Alfalfa and clover, which are traditional green fodder for pigs, contain about 4% protein, and fiber – 5-7%, and this ratio leads to rapid coarsening of food. Therefore, a week after the start of the use of such feed, its palatability is halved. In amaranth, the protein content is not inferior to alfalfa and is 4%, but the fiber in it is only 2-3%, that is, 2 times less, and therefore it is not surprising that animals prefer amaranth to alfalfa and any other green food. The inclusion of amaranth green mass in rations of 2-4 monthly piglets, single, piglets and sows increased their productivity by 12-18%. In this case, the cost of feed per unit of production is reduced by the same.
Breeders involved in the cultivation of pigs, noticed that as a result of the use of amaranth in the composition of the diets of sows and repair pigs, occurred:
- increased sow multiplicity by 14.2%;
- decrease in live weight loss of lactating sows by 71%;
- an increase in the “milkiness” of sows by 23.5%;
- improving the safety of piglets under the uterus by 2.7%;
- a more noticeable growth of suckling piglets by 8.3%;
- an increase in intensive growth of repair pigs by 11.1%;
- cost reduction for 1 pig of fodder units by 5.0%, per 1 kg increase in live weight of gilts – by 5.9% of fodder units.
The animals benefit most from silage prepared on the basis of amaranth with the addition of corn. The ratio is recommended to withstand 1: 1. Since there is a lot of sugars in the green mass of corn, and protein in the green mass of amaranth, the silage of them turns out to be more nutritious – by 50% compared to silage from one corn. This mixture has a positive effect on milk production and milk fat. The first indicator rises by 6%, and the second – by 0.1%. During the experiments in one of the farms, an increase in the productivity of cows in terms of 4 percent milk was 8.6%. At the same time, the feed consumption for milk production decreased: 1.8 kg less feed units are consumed per 1 kg of natural milk.
You can talk a lot about the value of amaranth, as an unconventional fodder crop with high nutritional value and the ability to strengthen the immune system. Igor Filippenko, Candidate of Biological Sciences, a long time engaged in physiology and immunology, gave an example of the unique properties of amaranth in terms of the fight against cancer.
– The poultry farmer is well known for Marek’s disease or neuro lymphomatosis. In fact, it is an infectious cancer. There is only one salvation – to vaccinate chickens at the age of one day or to slaughter up to 70 days, otherwise almost 100 percent death of the livestock occurs. In 2014, I deliberately did not vaccinate the herd, but the basis of the diet was amaranth green mass. As a result: up to 270 days (time of slaughter) safety was 98%. During this period, there was not a single case of neurolymphomatosis.
What products from amaranth are suitable for feed preparation?
In compound feeds, the following amaranth products are used:
- cake or meal;
- grass meal (grass granules).
As already known, amaranth green mass is included in the combined silo. Experts believe that with respect to meal, meal and flour, the issue is mainly in the dosage. The situation with amaranth grain is somewhat more complicated. The fact is that the mass of 1000 seeds is only 0.4-0.55 grams, and the size of a single kernel is often less than 0.8 mm in diameter. This indicator is less than optimal, if we speak, for example, of combined feed for pigs. It is known that the introduction of any grain into the diet of a pig in an unmilled form is unacceptable, since it possesses significant biological protection against the digestive enzymes produced in the stomach of a pig, and as a result, the digestibility of feed decreases. This also applies to amaranth grain, in the surface layer of which there is a dense hemicellulose membrane, which is practically not digested in the gastrointestinal tract of pigs. This leads to the problem of grinding amaranth for animal feed, since it is almost impossible to finely chop amaranth on conventional crushers.
Grinding of amaranth grain to flour in other types of mills also leads to the loss of its feed advantages. Many experts see the way out in extrusion, and they believe that only with its use it is possible to significantly increase the absorption of amaranth, since profound changes in the technological properties of the grain occur. In addition, extrusion contributes to the compaction of the product and increase its specific gravity, which is important in the case of loose feed. Therefore, most manufacturers of compound feed with amaranth grain is introduced into the product is extruded amaranth, and this increases the value of such feed.
Amarantovy meal is successfully used for preparation of compound feed for broilers. Due to the high preservation of protein compounds, amaranth meal can partially replace even soybean, although not 100% – a certain percentage of soybean must be introduced into the diet of the bird. It has also been established that amaranth cake in broiler feed 100% replaces rapeseed and sunflower, and this has already been noted by many poultry farmers. So, when using rapeseed, it is very important not to be mistaken with the dosage: otherwise the mortality of the bird rises sharply. Errors in the dosage of amaranth oil cake lead to a decrease in product quality, but do not lead to a jump in mortality among poultry. As for sunflower, it often loses to amaranth meal in the amount of oil, and therefore many farmers prefer amaranth meal, which is also rich in raw protein, crude fiber, linoleic acid, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, lysine, methionine, arginine and other useful substances.
The use of amaranth makes feeding animals more complete and balanced. Therefore, based on it, high-quality vitamin-herbal flour is prepared, which, moreover, is well stored and successfully used as an additive for the enrichment of other feeds with protein. From amaranth mixed with corn and other crops, a good combined silage is prepared, which contains a large amount of protein. In addition, from the green mass of amaranth receive valuable protein-amino acid concentrate, the addition of which to any low-value food significantly increases the productivity of animals.