Authors: Danilo Sotto, Tom Scott and Denise Beaulieu
Reference: Western Hog Journal Summer 2016
Based on research from the Kansas State University, an average feed particle size of 700 to 800 microns is best suited to increase feed efficiency in all stage of swine production. However, this information is based on corn and soybean based diets. There is no data available for wheat and barley based diets, which are common in Western Canada.
Samples of feed from one toll mill and four on-farm mills in Western Canada were collected to determine average particle size and variability between mills. One farm used a roller mill, while the others used a hammer mill. The average particle size of wheat was 795 microns while barley was 833 microns. On average, wheat was withing acceptable limits established by the Kansas State University while barley was slightly above, but still within reason. From two farms, particle size of complete feeds was higher than recommended, indicating possible losses in feed efficiency. The diet particle size ranged from 657 to 968 microns. Variability was possibly due to the type of grain used, other ingredients used, as well as their proportions. While all farms were aware of the benefits of small particle size, none had a monitoring program in place.
The second study examined the costs associated with grinding different grains in different ways. Barley is more expensive than wheat to grind. Using a roller mill is more cost effective than a hammer mill. Flowability was negatively affected when particle size was reduced. Wheat flowed better than barley. It is estimated that by reducing the particle size of barley by 300 microns can translate to a $7.8/pig due to reduction in total feed cost.