Research Project

Characterizing feed barley to determine competitive value in swine and cattle

Project lead:
Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra, Professor, University of Alberta

Start Date: April 2012

End Date: March 2015

Alberta Barley’s contribution: $200,000


  • Alberta Barley
  • University of Alberta
  • Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund

Total funding from other partners: $709,746

In the marketplace, feed barley for pigs is undervalued compared to feed wheat. Barley can contain unique properties related to the fermentation of starch and fibre that may have important implications for gut health. The project involves collection and characterization of unique barley cultivars differing in starch and fibre profile. These barley cultivars will be characterized further in swine and cattle for functional properties, followed by validation of these properties in swine studies.

Benefits for farmers: 
The project could identify characteristics that can be used as a screening tool to identify barley lines for the livestock feeding industries earlier in the breeding process and to enhance the value of barley in swine and cattle diets, creating greater overall demand for feed barley.