Pelleting and particle size reduction of corn increase net energy and digestibility of fiber, protein, and fat in corn-soybean meal diets fed to group-housed pigs

Background Reduction of the particle size of corn increases energy digestibility and concentrations of digestible and metabolizable energy. Pelleting may also reduce particle size of grain, but it is not known if there are interactions between particle size reduction and pelleting. The objective of this experiment was to test the hypothesis that par-
ticle size reduction and pelleting, separately or in combination, increase N balance, apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of fiber and fat, and net energy (NE) in corn-soybean meal diets fed to group-housed pigs.

Six corn-soybean meal-based diets were used in a 3 × 2 factorial design with 3 particle sizes of corn (i.e., 700, 500, or 300 μm) and 2 diet forms (i.e., meal or pelleted). Pigs were allowed ad libitum access to feed and water. Twenty-four castrated male pigs (initial weight: 29.52 kg; standard diviation: 1.40) were allotted to the 6 diets using a 6 × 6 Latin square design with 6 calorimeter chambers (i.e., 4 pigs/chamber) and 6 periods. Oxygen consumption and CO2 and CH4 productions were measured during fed and fasting states and fecal and urine samples were collected.

Regardless of particle size of corn, the ATTD of gross energy (GE), N, and acid-hydrolyzed ether extract (AEE), and the concentration of NE were greater (P < 0.05) in pelleted diets than in meal diets. Regardless of diet form, the ATTD of GE, N, and AEE, and the concentration of NE were increased (linear; P < 0.05) by reducing the particle size of corn, but the increase was greater in meal diets than in pelleted diets (interaction; P < 0.05).

Both pelleting and reduction of corn particle size increased nutrient digestibility and NE, but increases were greater in meal diets than in pelleted diets.

Download the complete abstract here