In “The Case for Canola” series, we have talked about where canola meal is grown, the benefits of the oil, and now, I want to talk about the benefits of canola meal in livestock feed. A lot of the canola meal on the market is solvent-extracted canola meal, where hexane is used to extract the oil. At Resaca Sun Feeds, we use expeller-pressed, non-GMO canola meal, where mechanical force is used to extract the oil from the seed. Solvent-extracted canola meal is higher in protein and lower in fat and energy. Expeller pressed canola meal is high in protein and higher fat and energy. Expeller-pressed meals offer both protein and energy to a diet. Canola meal specifically is a good protein source and has a good amino acid profile when compared to soybean meal. Table 1 shows the difference between both expeller-pressed soybean meal and expeller-pressed canola meal. There is not much published data on expeller-pressed canola meal values, so the values for canola meal in Table 1 are from the canola meal that is produced at Resaca Sun Products and used by Resaca Sun Feeds. For the sake of consistency, the soybean meal values are from Resaca Sun Products and are used by Resaca Sun Feeds.

Table 1

Nutrient High Oleic Soybean Meal (Expeller Pressed) Canola Meal (Expeller Pressed)
Crude Protein 42.5% 31.5%
Crude Fiber 5.5% 11.9%
Crude Fat 10.5% 17.1%
Methionine 0.49% 0.54%
Lysine 2.99% 1.77%
Threonine 2.01% 1.39%


When looking at protein sources, crude protein shows a snapshot of how well a protein source fits into a diet. Looking deeper, the amino acid profile of a protein gives a better understanding of the protein quality and how well it will perform in a diet. A protein source is only as good as its amino acid profile. The three important amino acids in swine and poultry diets are methionine, lysine, and threonine. These are important because they are limiting amino acids, which are essential amino acids present in the lowest quantity in the diet (Lopez & Mohiuddin, 2023). Each of these are crucial for growth, development, and performance in livestock.

Canola meal works well in ruminant, poultry, and swine diets. Canola meal is a good protein source for backgrounding and finishing cattle. The processing methods of expeller pressed canola meal is  thought to result in higher bypass protein levels compared to solvent extracted canola meal. Dairy cows perform well using expeller pressed canola meal and it improves the fatty acid profile of milk fat (Canola Meal Feed Guide for Ruminants – Canolamazing, 2023). As seen in Table 1, canola meal’s methionine levels are similar to soybean meal. This is one of the reasons it is a good protein source. Methionine is important in poultry for feather growth, development of digestive tract, egg production, growth, and performance. For pigs, methionine is important for body protein, growth, and development (Yang et al., 2020). The lysine and threonine levels in canola meal are low compared to soybean meal. Lysine is important in poultry and swine diets for growth and development (Khwatenge et al., 2020). There have been several studies that show canola meal is an effective feedstuff for pigs (Landero et al., 2012) (Grageola et al., 2013). Lastly, threonine is needed for growth and a functioning immune system (McGilvray et al., 2018). Overall, canola meal is a suitable protein source for different livestock. Overall, canola meal is a fitting protein source for livestock.

While canola meal is a good protein source, it cannot completely replace soybean meal in all diets. There are limits on how much canola meal can be added to diets. The maximum inclusion limits include: 20% of diet for starter feeds, 30% for chick grower feeds, 24% for layer feeds, 25% for swine grower feeds, 35% for sow feeds. These limitations are due to glucosinolates, which gives the canola meal a bitter taste (think mustard) and can decrease palatability and feed intake. Additionally, glucosinolates can impact liver, kidneys, and thyroid if overfed. Fortunately, the canola grown in the US has lower levels of glucosinolates, so we can use canola meal at higher levels. Another concern with overfeeding canola meal is potential off flavoring to eggs for laying hens. This has been seen mostly when feeding canola meal mixed with linseed meal and/or too much fish meal. Soy free diets are tricky because all the soy alternatives have inclusion limits.


Canola meal is a good option for livestock feeds. To summarize why:

  • Expeller pressed canola meal is a good protein and amino acid source. The amount of methionine in canola meal is like soybean meal.
  • Canola meal is higher in fat than solvent extracted canola meal, which helps add energy to the diet.
  • The use of canola meal is limited in diets because of glucosinolates.



Canola Meal Feed Guide for ruminants – Canolamazing. (2023, September 27). Canolamazing.

Grageola, F., Landero, J., Beltranena, E., Cervantes, M., Araiza, A., & Zijlstra, R. T. (2013). Energy and amino acid digestibility of expeller-pressed canola meal and cold-pressed canola cake in ileal-cannulated finishing pigs. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 186(3–4), 169–176.

Khwatenge, C. N., Kimathi, B. M., Taylor-Bowden, T., & Nahashon, S. N. (2020). Expression of lysine-mediated neuropeptide hormones controlling satiety and appetite in broiler chickens. Poultry Science, 99(3), 1409–1420.

Landero, J., Beltranena, E., Cervantes, M., Araiza, A., & Zijlstra, R. T. (2012). The effect of feeding expeller-pressed canola meal on growth performance and diet nutrient digestibility in weaned pigs. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 171(2–4), 240–245.

Lopez, M. J., & Mohiuddin, S. S. (2023, January 1). Biochemistry, essential amino acids. PubMed.,the%20minimal%20requirements%20for%20humans

McGilvray, W. D., Wooten, H., Rakhshandeh, A., Petry, A. L., & Rakhshandeh, A. (2018). Immune system stimulation increases dietary threonine requirements for protein deposition in growing pigs1. Journal of Animal Science, 97(2), 735–744.

Yang, Z., Htoo, J. K., & Liao, S. F. (2020). Methionine nutrition in swine and related monogastric animals: Beyond protein biosynthesis. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 268, 114608.