Emptying the feed silo affects the mash particle size of pig feed, researchers from Ghent University in Belgium found out. The exact implications of this feed damage for the animals is yet unknown.
The study assessed the effect of silo emptying and feed transport by conveyor systems on particle size and nutrient content of the feed delivered to the pigs.
Sampled feed from four feeders along the conveyor system of two barns. Samples were taken immediately after filling the feed silo (Begin) and when the silo was almost empty (End).
Three barns with drag-type conveyors, three with auger-type conveyors and two with spiral-type conveyors were sampled. Along the different conveyors, samples at 10, 20, 50 and 85 m distance from the feed silo were taken from the feeders.
It was shown that in Experiment 1, the size of the different particle fractions decreased from Begin to End. An interaction (p < 0.05) between sampling time and conveyor type was detected for the 10% smallest particles. In Experiment 2, an effect of sampling time on the 10% largest particles was detected (p < 0.05). The effect of sampling time on several nutrients was observed in both experiments, but the affected nutrients differed between both experiments.
Results implied that it was mainly emptying of the silo that affected mash particle size profile and nutrient content. The potential impact of these changes on pig performance requires further investigation.
[Source: Archives of Animal Nutrition]