- Posted by Marina
Results from new research at the University of Illinois indicate that growers can reduce feed costs if yellow corn, a staple diet in the United States, is ground to a smaller, thinner size. The smaller particle size allows pigs to get more energy from maize, which means producers can reduce the amount of fat added to their diets.
Hans H. Stein, a professor of animal science at the University, and his laboratory conducted an experiment to determine if growth performance and carcass characteristics differed between pigs fed diets with the same amount of energy, but they contained milled corn in different levels. Current industry recommendations require that corn supplied to pigs be ground to a particle size of about 650 microns.
"When corn is ground to smaller particles, pigs can get more energy because increasing surface area means that digestive enzymes have more access to corn nutrients, resulting in higher starch digestibility," Stein said. “So you can reduce the amount of fat added to diets without metabolizable energy loss by using finer ground corn. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that added fat can be removed from diets containing finely ground corn without affecting growth performance and housing characteristics of pigs, ”he adds.
The researchers fed diets of growing and finishing pigs containing ground corn up to 865, 677, 485 and 339 microns. Diets were formulated to contain the same amount of metabolizable energy by varying the amount of fat added.