With adverse growing and harvesting conditions as well as the fluctuation of grain pricing, there have increased supplies of feed wheat used as livestock feed. However, the majority of wheat has been used as feed for poultry and swine, and ruminant producers have been reluctant to use large quantities of wheat because feeding wheat increases the risk of rumen acidosis due to rapid wheat starch digestion in the rumen. To avoid this problem, animal producers often believe that they must limit the amount of wheat in the diet to 50% or less. This chapter summarizes some research findings published in peer reviewed and extension articles on the use of feed wheat in ruminant diets. Substantial variation in physical and chemical composition exists among wheat samples, which are mainly influenced by type of wheat, variety and environmental conditions. Feed values of wheat are largely influenced by its physical properties and nutrient content; however, grain processing as well as its interaction with the physical characteristics is a critical consideration to optimize wheat utilization in ruminant diets. Wheat grain can be fed to animals at higher than typically used in the current livestock industry if proper bunk management and processing are employed.
Part of the book: Global Wheat Production