Your morning eggs may soon be omega-3 fortified thanks to Camelina, now that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has approved the use of up 10 per cent Camelina meal in feed for laying hens.

Camelina cake is rich in protein, fibre and alpha-linolenic acid, and studies have shown its inclusion in feed for broiler chickens and laying hens can help produce value-added, healthier poultry products.

Smart Earth Seeds (an affiliate of Linnaeus Plant Sciences) has been working to develop Camelina as a novel rotational oilseed crop in Western Canada. The company credits the efforts of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Livestock Research and Extension Branch and the University of Saskatchewan, Department of Animal and Poultry Science for doing the research that has led to the approval. 

Jack Grushcow, founder and CEO of Smart Earth Seeds, says this gives local farmers another alternative high-quality feedstock for high-omega eggs. Rex Newkirk, Chair in Feed Processing Technology at the University of Saskatchewan, agrees. “This is good news for Canadian poultry producers. This approval ensures Canadian producers can benefit from access to a high quality protein that also contains significant quantities of Omega-3 oil.” 

Matt Oryschak and Eduardo Beltranena, who led the layer trials at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, say increasing Camelina cake inclusions in layers’ feed resulted in a dose-related increase in polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids and a superior balance of Omega-3: Omega-6 fatty acids in table eggs. 

Grushcow says this is another major step for Camelina production in Canada. “This latest approval makes the crop production economics for Camelina even more attractive. It means we can actually build a proper supply chain in Western Canada. We have to have a local, domestic use for the meal or the oil business doesn’t thrive,” he says. “The more local markets we can develop for Camelina meal, the greater the opportunity to process locally and provide regional economic development.”

Camelina meal for broiler chicken feed was approved by CFIA in early 2015 at up to 12 per cent inclusion, and another application is going forward to approve the inclusion of Camelina in dairy cattle rations. The crop has also been approved in the US by the Food and Drug Administration for 10 per cent inclusion rate in cattle and chicken feed, and two per cent in pig feed. 

Camelina is a diversifying oilseed crop that offers greater disease and drought tolerance. It can be grown with low inputs on marginal land while providing valuable crop rotation benefits. 

Related links:
Camelina approved fro laying hen feed in Canada – RealAgriculture
Camelina meal approved in hen diets by CFIA – CTV Farmgate




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