Cereals are important components of game feeds, contributing significant quantities of both energy and protein to the diet. Accordingly, it is crucial that at each harvest, the nutritional quality of the new crop is assessed carefully and the diet formulations or recipes are adjusted as necessary, taking into account any changes that have occurred.

You can be sure that Sportsman formulations allow for the latest information on the analysis and quality of the cereals used so that the nutritional content of the feeds and hence their performance potential remains constant.

Wheat is the most important cereal used by Sportsman, and its high energy level makes it particularly attractive in Breeder, Starter and Grower 1 feeds. However, some barley may be used in feeds designed for older birds in the release or prebreeder stages where a lower energy feed is desirable to keep birds fit but not fat.

Both wheat and barley are subjected to rigorous quality checks on their arrival at the mill, and anything failing these checks will be rejected. Every delivery is examined and 35 different tests or checks are carried out. These include moisture, specific weight (bushel weight) and examination for any signs of admixture, foreign objects or mould growth. In addition, significant numbers of samples are taken for analysis in the laboratory - the data produced are used to generate the formulations used for the feeds.

The frequency of cereal testing is increased at harvest so that any changes in analysis are quickly determined and acted upon. The 2017 harvest has shown a general increase in protein levels of both wheat and barley of around 0.4%. In most years cereal proteins tend to be higher in the South of the country and lower in the North, particularly in Scotland - these sorts of regional differences are fully accounted for by Sportsman so that our feeds have the same nutrient levels irrespective of mill of manufacture.

Another factor which is monitored closely, especially at each new harvest, is the occurrence of any mycotoxins in the cereals. Mycotoxins are produced by moulds, either when the crop is growing in the field or in store after harvest, and can have a negative impact on bird performance, depending upon their level. The results of tests carried out this year have shown that there are no significant problems, though there are a couple of areas of the country which require monitoring.

With Sportsman you can be certain that the cereals used in our feeds are of the highest quality and that their use in the formulations is based on a detailed understanding of their nutritional value.

For further information on raw material quality and diet performance, contact your regional sales expert.