Pigs are monogastric animals with a relatively simple digestive system,which required easily digestible, high quality feed. Feed particle size is an important factor that determines feed efficiency and gut health in pigs and poultry. Feed processing therefore need to evolve, with an increased focus on the complex interactions between pellet characteristics, gut health and microbiota.
Pig feed pellet sizes effect pig performance & gut health
In a November 2021 paper, the scientist surmised that the nutrient content distribution in particles of different sizes may not be uniform. They also noted that the characteristics of particles of different sizes may differ, leading to differing digestibility levels and either positive or negative effects on pig performance and gut health. In their study of hammer-milled maize and soybean meal, they indeed found that nutrient composition, physical characteristics of materials and digestibility vary among various particle size fractions. And because these differences were found, grinding ingredients into specific size classes can be done to achieve higher digestibility of nutrients.
The pigs fed finely-ground diets with very small particle sizes have a higher risk for gastric ulcers.Because finer particles leave the stomach faster than larger particles,This results in the pH being lower in part of the stomach, where hydrochloric acid can erode pre-existing intestinal injuries that have been caused, for example, by weaning stress. A good solution is therefore to increase the proportion of structure by the utilisation of coarse particles in the feed, whether pelleted or not.
Pelleting is a technology that is widely used in worlds’ feed production plant and gaining popularity in the Africa,Asia as it offers economic, physical and nutritional benefits.
Generally, based on existing literature, the quantity of finer particles (<0.4 mm) should be as low as possible due to the negative effect on gastro-intestinal tract health, and we need a minimum of the coarsest fractions (>1.6 mm) in order to increase stomach retention and optimised passage rate – whereas the proportion of medium-sized pig feed pellet (>0.5 to <1.6 mm), which are considered optimal for the pig’s digestive system, should be as high as possible.
In modern pellets production, particle size is already very fine in order to achieve a high-quality pellet and better nutrient utilisation.While the puzzle of particle size in feeds and how to preserve it economically has not yet been definitively resolved, progress will continue.