Effects of Corn Particle Size, Complete Diet Grinding and Diet Form on 24- to 50-lb Nursery Pig Growth Performance

Pig performance was improved when fed diets in pellet form and when the particle size of the maize (corn) was reduced from 737 to 324 microns, according to researchers at the 2013 Kansas State University Swine Industry Day.
calendar icon 13 March 2014
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The effects of corn particle size, complete diet grinding and diet form (meal versus pellets) on the growth of weaned pigs was studied by J.A. De Jong and colleagues and presented at the 2013 Kansas State University Swine Industry Day.

There, they explained, a total of 996 pigs (PIC TR4; initially 24.5 lb bodyweight and 40 days of age) were used in a 21-day study.

Pens of pigs were balanced by initial bodyweight and randomly allotted to one of six dietary treatments with six replications per treatment and 28 pigs per pen. The same corn-soybean meal-based diet containing 30 per cent corn dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) and 10 per cent wheat middlings (midds) was used for all treatments.

The six treatments were:

  1. Roller mill–ground corn (737μ) fed in meal form
  2. Treatment 1 fed in pellet form
  3. Hammer mill–ground corn (324μ) fed in meal form
  4. Treatment 3 fed in pellet form
  5. Complete mixed diet reground through a hammer mill (541μ) fed in meal form; and
  6. Treatment 5 in pellet form.

Overall (days 0 to 21), average daily gain and average daily feed intake decreased when corn was finely ground and fed in meal form but increased when fed in pelleted form, resulting in a tendency (P< 0.09) for a diet form × corn particle size interaction.

Fine-grinding the complete mixed diet had no effects.

Pelleting diets improved (P<0.04) average daily gain, feed:gain ratio, Metabolisable Energy and Net Energy energetic efficiencies and final bodyweight.

In conclusion, pelleting diets significantly improved performance, and reducing the particle size of corn from 737 to 324μ improved nursery pig performance when fed in pelleted form.


De Jong J.A., J.M. DeRouchey, M.D. Tokach, R.D. Goodband, C.W. Hastad and S.S. Dritz. 2013. Effects of corn particle size, complete diet grinding, and diet form on 24- to 50-lb nursery pig growth performance. Proceedings of 2013 Kansas Swine Day, p95-101.

Further Reading

You can view the full paper by clicking here.
Read other papers presented at the 2013 Kansas Swine Day by clicking here.

March 2014

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