Part 2: Hi-Gel™ Corn for Swine – Particle Size

In the previous blog covering the use of Hi-Gel corn for nursery diets, pigs demonstrated that there were no differences in growth performance when ground corn was substituted with Hi-Gel Corn, but the voluntary feed intake closely followed dietary levels of available energy. Therefore, the lack of differences, given the highly gelatinized starch of Hi-Gel Corn, other factors such as particle size should be evaluated.

Particle size of corn and other cereal grains is a key factor to consider given that it affects nutrient digestibility and growth performance of pigs. Grinding corn to reduce particle size increases the surface area, which allows more activity of digestive enzymes resulting in improved feed efficiency of pigs.

Considering the potential effects of particle size of corn on the animal response, a trial was conducted at the University of Illinois to determine the effects of reducing particle size of Hi-Gel Corn (high-shear dry extruded) and ground corn (non-extruded) corn on energy digestibility and concentrations of metabolizable energy in pigs. To accomplish it, both sources of corn were ground to three different particle sizes (300, 500 and 700 µm) and fed to nursery pigs. The digestibility of the gross energy of Hi-Gel corn was 6% higher and the metabolizable energy concentration was 4% higher than that of ground corn (non-extruded) independently of the particle size as observed below.

Overall, results from this trial to determine how the particle size of Hi-Gel corn affects the energy value of corn for pigs, indicate that high-shear dry extrusion technology adds energy value to corn making the highly gelatinized starch more digestible for productive purposes regardless of particle size.

As dry extrusion increases the amount of available energy in corn, it is possible to get more energy out of Hi-Gel corn, which allows for diet cost savings.  The economic benefits of higher metabolizable energy in Hi-Gel Corn is an opportunity for swine integrators to save ~3.5% on feed costs for nursery pigs with less inclusion of SBM and oil in the diets.

This promising new data adds to our growing insight with extruding corn, and we are excited to continue exploring this invaluable ingredient for improving animal nutrition.

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