Feed Industry


Pulses can be used in livestock diets – for pigs, poultry and cattle – as well as for pet food and for aquaculture.  The key value of pulses comes from their amino acids – the building block of proteins – and from the energy supplied by carbohydrates.

Pig and Poultry Rations

Peas and beans compete with imported soyameal, which is the current mainstay of UK rations.  However, both pricing levels and GM issues means that feed compounders are starting to look to pulses as an alternative home-grown and sustainable source of protein.

Some calculations suggest that around three quarters of our field bean crop could be used by the UK pig and poultry feed market if the price was competitive and, as important, there was continuity of supply.

Looking at future developments, research is under way in the UK on the effects of including different levels of selected pea and bean varieties in pig diets to replace soybean meal, and this ‘Green Pig’ project is being funded by a number of organisations and companies.  The project is expected bring a greater use of home grown pulses in pig feeding and a consequent rise in home grown pulses production to reduce dependency on imports and to reduce the environmental impact of pig production in the UK.


Cattle Diets

Peas can be incorporated into cattle diets as a source of protein and energy -compared to cereals, peas contain nearly twice the level of crude protein. Formulations can include peas at 20 to 30 per cent of a mature beef cow ration


Peas and beans are used in this manufacturing process, which transforms the raw material to a high energy ingredient used in feeds for specialist markets such as racehorses, small animals, and from zoo feeds. There is also a healthy export trade of micronized products to the EU and to the Middle East.

Micronized products provide improved nutritional value over feeding the same materials uncooked with increased available energy and improved digestibility due to the gelatinisation of starch molecules during the cooking process. This is particularly beneficial in starter diets for young animals and poultry.

Micronized flakes not only provide an excellent source of highly available nutrients for a finished diet but contribute to the appearance of products, adding vibrant colours and texture to the mix and provide a more natural look than coloured extrusions.


Peas and beans are used as part of the nutrient mix for aquaculture along with wheat, maize and oil seed products such as soya, rapeseed and sunflower.

If you would like to know more about the end uses of pulses – for the feed industry, for the food industry, for export markets, and for specialist uses, such as gluten-free diets – please contact one of the Pulses UK member companies listed on our web site. If you would like advice on the most appropriate Pulses UK member to contact, please visit our contacts page.