Swine Producers Encouraged to Consider Particle Size When Grinding Grain

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2051. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 3 February 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2051

A swine researcher with Kansas State University is encouraging hog producers who grind their own grain to pay close attention to particle size.

The particle size of ground grains that are fed to livestock is measured in microns. Kansas State University extension swine specialist Dr. Bob Goodband told those attending Manitoba swine seminar 2006 in Winnipeg producers should be targeting a uniform particle size of about 700 microns.

He suggests an acceptable range would be between 650 and 750 microns for all of the varying grains and varying diets.

"As we decrease particle size, proportionately that increases the surface area of the particle and that allows for greater digestive interaction with digestive enzymes and so, as a result, we get improved feed efficiency and better digestibility.

If we go finer than our recommendation of 700 microns we still might see some advantages in digestibility, although I'd argue to a diminishing return, but that's where we see problems with feed manufacturing.

It takes a lot longer to grind feed, it takes a lot more electrical energy to grind feed and we run into some feed management problems with the feed being dusty and problems with that feed flowability or bridging in bulk bins and feeders.

In terms of equipment, producers can either choose a hammer mill, which reduces particle size through the grain impacting a rotating hammer, or a roller mill which reduces particle size by slicing the grain.

Dr. Goodband says, while both systems have their advantages and disadvantages, particle size and shape tends to be more uniform when using roller mills.

He says that more uniform particle size helps maintain flowability of the ration through the feeders, even when additional ingredients such as fat, are included in the mix.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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