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Journal of Animal Science Abstract -

Effects of particle size and pelleting on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, and stomach morphology in finishing pigs.


This article in

  1. Vol. 73 No. 3, p. 757-763


  1. K J Wondra,
  2. J D Hancock,
  3. K C Behnke,
  4. R H Hines and
  5. C R Stark
  1. Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506-0201, USA.


The effects of particle size and pelleting on growth performance, carcass characteristics, nutrient digestibility, and stomach morphology were determined using 160 finishing pigs. The pigs were fed a corn-soybean meal-based diet with the corn milled to particle sizes of 1,000, 800, 600, or 400 microns. The diets were fed in meal or pellet form. Pelleting the diets resulted in 5% greater ADG (P < .01) and 7% greater grain/feed (P < .001). Also, pelleting increased digestibilities of DM, N, and GE by 5 to 8% (P < .001). Reducing particle size increased electrical energy required for milling and decreased milling production rates, especially as particle size was decreased from 600 to 400 microns. Reducing particle size of the corn from 1,000 to 400 microns increased gain/feed by 8% (linear effect, P < .001) and digestibility of GE by 7% (quadratic effect, P < .03). Improved nutrient digestibility and lower ADFI resulted in 26% less daily excretion of DM and 27% less daily excretion of N in the feces as particle size was reduced from 1,000 to 400 microns (linear effects, P < .001). Stomach lesions and keratinization increased with reduced particle size (P < .003) and keratinization increased with pelleting (P < .02), although they were unrelated to growth performance (i.e., gain/feed actually improved as lesion scores increased). Considering milling energy, growth performance, stomach morphology, nutrient digestibility, and nutrient excretion, a particle size of 600 microns, or slightly less, is an acceptable compromise for corn in both meal and pelleted diets for finishing pigs.

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