Camelina Vying for a Place in Dairy Rations


Last January, camelina, a drought-tolerant oilseed high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, was approved as a feed ingredient for broiler chickens. Now, work is underway to see the approval for inclusion in laying hen rations and dairy animal diets.

Camelina Approved for Broiler Chicken Feed

“Can you imagine a day when all our eggs produced in Canada are healthier with high Omega-3 content?” said Rex Newkirk, chair of food processing technology at the University of Saskatchewan, in a release. “It could be the same thing with milk.”

The University currently has two experimental trials assessing camelina in dairy animal rations. They’re looking at production output, taste and fatty acid content in milk.

A similar experiment in Europe, where dairy animals were given camelina meal as a replacement for sunflower meal in a ration, showed no significant difference in overall production and composition. But, fatty acid composition was improved significantly, through increased concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids and CLA. The team involved concluded that the higher feeding quality could have beneficial effects on consumer health.

“Camelina is a high quality non-GMO source of protein, omega rich oils and high levels of vitamin E in the form or various tocopherols,” said Jack Grushcow, CEO of Smart Earth Seeds, the Saskatoon-based company supplying meal for the feed trials. “Our goal is to get local markets to take advantage of these Camelina benefits so we can build local processing infrastructure and deliver benefits to our rural communities.”

The results of the Saskatchewan trials will be submitted to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

For Interest’s Sake:

  • A study out of the United Kingdom found that though dietary supplements of camelina oil had an adverse effect on overall dry matter intake, they also decreased ruminal CH4 and CO2 production, and increased conjugated linoleic acid and trans fatty acid concentrations.
  • An article published in the South African Journal of Animal Science showed results that suggested supplementing a grass-silage diet with camelina seed increased the oxidative stability of milk samples, and thus, the quality of milk offered for human consumption.
  • In 2010, Health Canada approved the use of cold-pressed camelina oil as a food ingredient for human consumption, according to its Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods.

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