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Animal Science

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Translational Animal Science





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The experimental objective was to determine the role of mean particle size (PS), grinding method, and body weight (BW) category on nutrient, fiber, and energy digestibility of corn. A total of 48 barrows were housed in individual pens and randomly assigned to one of six dietary treatments for 11 d at two BW categories (55 kg and 110 kg). The six treatments consisted of corn ground at three different targeted mean PSs (300, 500, and 700 µm) using either a roller mill or a hammermill. Fecal samples were collected for the last 3 d of each feeding period. Titanium dioxide was used as an indigestible marker. Digestibility data were analyzed as a linear mixed model using the MIXED procedure of SAS. Finishing pigs had greater apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of dry matter (DM), gross energy (GE), and N than growing pigs (P = 0.02, P = 0.01, and P <0.01, respectively). The ATTD of DM, GE, and N was similar in pigs fed hammermilled corn across all PS treatments. However, in roller-milled corn, they increased as PS was reduced (P < 0.05). The ATTD of acid-hydrolyzed ether extract (AEE) in growing pigs was similar between corn ground at 700 and 500 µm, but it was increased by further reducing PS to 300 µm (P < 0.05). In finishing pigs, the ATTD of AEE increased as mean PS decreased from 700 to 300 µm (P < 0.05). The ATTD of AEE was similar in hammermilled corn at all three PS treatments. On the other hand, the ATTD of AEE was similar in corn ground in a roller mill to 700 and 500 µm, but it increased when PS was reduced to 300 µm (P < 0.05). In conclusion, reducing PS of corn with a roller mill increased digestibility of energy and nutrients, but there was less effect using a hammermill. It is possible that differences in SD, distribution, chemical composition, and the shape of the particles resulting from the two grinding processes help to explain the different response.


This article is published as Acosta, Jesus A., Amy L. Petry, Stacie A. Gould, Cassandra K. Jones, Charles R. Stark, Adam C. Fahrenholz, and John F. Patience. "Enhancing digestibility of corn fed to pigs at two stages of growth through management of particle size using a hammermill or a roller mill." Translational Animal Science 4, no. 1 (2020): 10-21. doi: 10.1093/tas/txz146.

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