High-fat oats could have a place in hog and poultry diets, according to trials conducted at the University of Saskatchewan. Developed by the university’s Crop Development Center, the new high-fat oats produce yields that are similar to regular oats, but they have a much higher energy content.

Feeding trials conducted with grow/finish pigs compared the new oat variety with common domestic oats. According to Phil Thacker, animal science professor, the new variety provides a much higher return of energy per acre than traditional varieties and shows excellent feed potential.

Oats tend to be high in fiber and low in energy, which limits their usefulness in swine diets because hogs don’t digest fiber very well. Compared with barley or wheat, traditional oats are much lower in energy.

Because increasing the feed’s fat content is a simple way to increase its energy, the researchers took a stab at developing a high-fat oat with a higher lipid content to compensate for the fiber.

Thacker says, that compared to regular oats, the high-fat variety supports better growth rates in pigs on trial. He’s seen 10 percent to 15 percent higher growth; better digestibility of protein, energy, fat; and so far no negative carcass effects have been measured.

He points out that the new variety is still in the trial stages. He expects it to be a couple of years before the variety is available for commercial use.