SAATEN-UNION. Projects and Trials.

MyRye feeding project

Using rye for pig fattening is competitive, supports animal welfare and animal health and contributes to more sustainability! A new research project, which is comprehensively presented in the following article, investigates if these positions can be validated and to which economically evaluable extent.

As part of the MyRye project, a new study which is financed by SAATENUNION and Elsoms Seeds investigates the value of hybrid rye in final pig fattening. The 6-month project will be carried out and supervised by Helen Miller, Professor of Animal Biosciences at the University of Leeds. Due to millions of dollars of investment the University of Leeds now has a worldclass pig research facility and is one of the best institutes in Europe in regard to research in pig nutrition, behaviour and welfare as well as production systems.

How does rye perform in regard to cost reduction, constituents and animal welfare? During final fattening, pigs consume the largest amounts of feed. At this stage objectives such as cost-effective and sustainable feed use are particularly important. Health risk and stress minimisation also gain in importance as losses have a greater impact.


    The question is: What are the benefits of feeding rye?

  1. 1. Purchasing rye is 20 to 30 Euros/t cheaper than wheat and 10 to 20 Euros/t cheaper than barley. In terms of feeding value this price difference is far too big offering a leverage to save considerable cost in pig fattening. Home-grown rye for animal feed saves direct and labour costs (less fertiliser, crop protection, field passes and so on).

  2. 2. Compared to other cereals rye is an energy-rich grain crop that contains relatively little nitrogen and, with 3.0 %, has the highest lysine content in total protein and highly digestible phosphorus predestining rye for N- and P-reduced final fattening feed mixtures. If pigs take up less crude protein and phosphorus their metabolism and organs are less stressed improving the animal’s health. At the same time a better feed conversion reduces the amount of produced slurry which also contains less N and P. The latter is especially interesting for farmers with a high stocking rate and little land – less slurry has to be disposed of elsewhere.

  3. 3. Fibres are a gut filler and growing substrate for benign microbes in the digestive tract as well as for the development of favourable microbial flora and resilient intestinal health. Rye has more fibres than any other cereal and therefore has a beneficial effect on animal welfare and animal health. In the large-scale project six different feeding diets are investigated, with a rye content ranging from 0-100 %. Thereby, various indicators are recorded: Feed intake, daily increase, intestinal health, nitrogen and phosphorus reduction in slurry, animal behaviour as well as meat performance and meat body analysis.

Reference to SU BENDIX



Field trial: Efficient Fertilisation of Winter rye with Farm manure

Due to its excellent root performance rye achieves high nitrogen utilisation rates from applied manure. This has already been sufficiently demonstrated in plot trials carried out by the regional authorities. However, in practice the recognition has been very little so far. For this reason, the SAATEN-UNION has carried out large-scale trials on practical farms in order to demonstrate that rye is the most predestined of all cereals for using slurry and fermentation residues efficiently. Fertilisation can be carried out to 100 % with slurry!
The aim is to produce rye at low cost without using mineral fertilisers. Furthermore, it is shown that rye is most suitable for regions which are expecting N-fertilisation restrictions in the future due to the political framework.

Image_Hybrid rye

Plot trial: Resource efficiency of hybrid rye versus winter wheat

Which crop – rye or winter wheat – is better at managing fertiliser and water resources is investigated by further trials. For this purpose, a site was selected which offers the possibility of irrigation. In Lower Saxony, large parts of the grain cultivation area is under irrigation.

In future this will no longer be possible to the same extend according to the local water authorities. Because of the droughts in the years 2018 and 2019 irrigation quotas are going to be reduced as groundwater recharge has not taken place due to insufficient rainfall. On marginal sites in particular winter wheat can only be produced profitably by using irrigation. This offers rye a chance for a comeback in the more classical rye growing regions. An evaluation of hybrid rye versus winter wheat is to be carried out taking economical aspects into account.


Further Development of the “Green Revolution”

In an international alliance HYBRO would like to make rye more attractive and prepare it against the impacts of climate change. A current study makes precision tools available to use the short straw gene Ddw1 in breeding and to provide new insights into its mode of action.

An international research consortium, to whose eleven members the HYBRO belongs, wants to get rye ready for the future and make it more attractive. Based on its good properties such as winter hardiness, low demands on soil quality and the lowest CO2 footprint amongst cereals the RYE-SUS project aims to improve storability and drought stress tolerance of rye. In the mid-20th century, breeding semidwarfs had led to an enormous yield increase in wheat, partly because short stems can carry much heavier ears without lodging. “Now, we want to introduce an equivalent short straw era in rye. Molecular data show that Ddw1 could also be a key to increasing the rye‘s drought tolerance”, explains Hackauf.

According to the researcher’s plan in future chemical growth regulators can be dispensed of and energy costs for harvesting and drying are also reduced if highperformance hybrids with high ergot resistance and shortened stems are cultivated. In order to be able to predict the performance of the breeds under various climate conditions the JKI experts want to establish the first growth and development model for rye within the framework of RYE-SUS. Other features they are working on include the root system and the genetic and molecular basis of the rye‘s pronounced winter hardiness. The RYE-SUS project receives funding from the research and innovation programme “Horizon 2020” of the European Union under Grant Agreement No. 771134.

Image_Growth and development model for rye