UK-grown lupins as an alternate protein source in broiler diets

The UK imports more than four million tonnes of soyabeans and meal each year. The vast majority of the soya is imported from the US and South America to meet the protein requirements of animal feed. The sustainability of importing such large quantities of soya is being questioned both from a feed security and an environmental point of view. Large areas of South America continue to be deforested and converted to agricultural land to meet this continued growing demand for soya.

In the drive towards more sustainable UK farming practices, there is ongoing research to find viable alternative protein sources to soya that can be produced in the UK. Peas and beans have been the main vegetable crops produced so far, but recently lupins have been grown as a spring-sown break crop.

Lupins have up to 36% protein, higher than beans (28%) but lower than soya (46%). Lupins also have a higher fibre content 12% which may bring benefits in layer diets.

Unfortunately, lupins contain alkaloids, bitter tasting compounds that can cause feed rejection in animals. This has historically limited their use in animal feeds. But through successful plant breeding, the levels of these alkaloids have been significantly reduced, making new varieties of lupins more suitable for inclusion in animal diets. 

ABN, in collaboration with Frontier Agriculture, has completed a series of commercial scale broiler trials, testing both blue and white varieties. Lupins were included at up to 7.5% of the diet. 

There were no reported feed refusal incidences and there was no recordable impact on performance of the lupin-fed birds compared to standard-fed control birds.

The results confirm that UK grown lupins could be used in broiler rations without affecting performance.

Blue lupin crop

This website uses cookies, if you'd like to know more about these cookies here's our cookie policy.

I accept cookies