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Animal Science

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Translational Animal Science





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Feed grains are processed to improve their value in pig diets by exposing kernel contents to enzymatic and microbial action. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of reducing mean particle size (PS) of wheat grain ground with two different grinding methods (GMs) on the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of nutrients and energy in growing and finishing pigs. Forty-eight barrows were housed in individual pens for 11 d for two periods. Pigs were randomly assigned to a 3 × 2 × 2 factorial experimental design: three target mean PS of wheat grain (300, 500, and 700 µm), two GMs (roller mill and hammermill), and two body weight (BW) periods (growing period; initial BW of 54.9 ± 0.6 kg and finishing period; initial BW of 110.7 ± 1.4 kg). Diets contained one of six hard red wheat grain samples, vitamins, minerals, and titanium dioxide as an indigestible marker. Feed allowance provided 2.5 (for the two lightest pigs in each treatment) or 2.7 (for the remaining six pigs in each treatment) times the estimated daily maintenance energy requirement for each growth stage. Fecal samples were collected for the last 3 d of each period. Data were analyzed as a linear mixed model with pig as a random effect and PS, GM, and BW period and their interactions as fixed effects utilizing the MIXED procedure of SAS. Growing pigs had greater (P < 0.05) ATTD of dry matter (DM), gross energy (GE), N, acid hydrolyzed ether extract (AEE), and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) by lowering mean PS from 700 to 500 μm using either a roller mill or a hammermill. However, digestibility did not increase when PS was reduced from 500 to 300 μm, except for AEE (P < 0.05). Finishing pigs had greater ATTD of DM, GE, N, AEE, and NDF by lowering mean PS with a hammermill from 700 to 500 μm (P < 0.05), but it was greater for 500 μm than for 300 μm (P < 0.05). Using a roller mill reduced the ATTD of DM and NDF by lowering PS from 700 to 300 μm (P < 0.05). The ATTD of GE decreased by lowering PS from 700 to 500 μm with a roller mill (P < 0.05) for finishing pigs. The ATTD of N and AEE for finishing pigs were similar from 700 to 300 μm when ground by a roller mill. These data suggest that the PS that maximized digestibility for a hammermill is 500 μm for both growing and finishing pigs. However, for the roller mill, the PS resulting in the best digestibility were 500 and 700 μm for growing and finishing pigs, respectively.


This article is published as Acosta, Jesus A., Amy L. Petry, Stacie A. Gould, Cassandra K. Jones, Charles R. Stark, Adam Fahrenholz, and John F. Patience. "Effects of grinding method and particle size of wheat grain on energy and nutrient digestibility in growing and finishing pigs." Translational Animal Science 4, no. 2 (2020): 682-693. doi: 10.1093/tas/txaa062.

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