U of S research boosts omega-3 in eggs with new ingredient for laying hen diets in Canada

Laying hen producers in Canada can now add camelina meal to their ingredient inventory thanks to efforts by the University of Saskatchewan’s (U of S) Department of Animal and Poultry Science, in collaboration with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Funded by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF), this multi-year project was co-ordinated by the U of S Canadian Feed Research Centre to perform the required feeding trials to gain approval of camelina meal for broilers and laying hens.

“Previous studies have shown a high omega-3 content in eggs from laying hens fed camelina meal,” said Rex Newkirk, associate professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the U of S. “This benefit may provide additional incentive for laying hen producers to feed camelina meal now that it is an available feed ingredient.”

Camelina is a drought tolerant oilseed belonging to the Brassica family and is closely related to mustard, canola and rapeseed. The oil extracted from camelina has shown value as a human food product, biofuel and other bio-based industrial products. However, until recently there had been no market for the byproduct produced during oil processing. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) approval of camelina meal in broiler and now laying hen diets helps to address this issue.

 “Before new feed ingredients can enter the market they must be approved for use by CFIA,” said Sean Thompson, feed industry liaison with the Canadian Feed Research Centre. “This approval requires data from several feeding experiments in order to prove that the ingredient provides a benefit to the intended species whilst maintaining both animal and human safety.”

The laying hen aspect of the project was conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta’s Poultry Research and Technology Centre between 2012 and 2014. After a lengthy assessment of safety and performance data, the CFIA recently granted approval for use up to 10 per cent in layer diets. This concludes the overall project where CFIA approval was previously granted in December of 2014 for broilers up to 12 per cent through experiments completed at the University of Saskatchewan’s Poultry Research Centre.

“The recent approval of camelina meal for laying hens adds another market for camelina co-products in the feed industry,” said Thompson.

Ongoing feeding studies with camelina meal are also being conducted at the Rayner Dairy Research and Teaching Facility at the U of S to gather data for dairy cow approval, and is a collaborative project with Smart Earth Seeds and Soy 20/20.


For more information, contact:

Sean Thompson

Feed Industry Liaison

Canadian Feed Research Centre




Rex Newkirk

Associate Professor and Research Chair in Feed Processing Technology

Department of Animal and Poultry Science



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