07 Sep 2022

Cereal grains and how to improve their nutritional value?

The processing of grains aims to increase their nutritional value, making them more usable for pigs and poultry, and in this way, to reduce the volume of food to be used.

Cereal grains and how to improve their nutritional value?

Cereal grain processing aims to increase their nutritional value, making them more usable for pigs and poultry. Which in turn results in a reduction of feed volumes.

Processing methods can be separated into two large groups: “cold” and “heat”.

 

  • CerealCold processing techniques in grains consist of reducing particle size through grinding, crushing or compaction. All these processes aim  to improve the grain digestibility through their physical breakdown.
  • Hot processing techniques include: popping, extrusion and micronizing. These processes, seek to improve the digestibility of starch through its chemical and physical modification.

Cereals respond differently to processing conditions. Therefore, each cereal has special recommendations regarding the processing technique that best suits them.

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Importance of processing

Cereal processing represents a significant tool for piglet diets. Piglets unlike newborn chicks do not possess the ability to properly digest starch. Weaned piglets between 21 and 28 days of age have a comparatively immature digestive system and their pancreatic α-amylase levels are deficient. The development of their full digestive capacity is reached at approximately 10 weeks of age.

Digestive problems in pigs are common during weaning, with one of the main causes being the incapacity to digest starch properly. Considering that cereals make up the biggest part of pig diets and that piglets lack high enzymatic activity, it is natural for these types of problems to occur.

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It has been observed that enzymatic activity in piglets is induced as the amount of cereals within the ration increases. For such reason, in addition to subjecting cereals to treatments that facilitate piglets’ digestive capacity, it is also recommended to offer them starter feed when they are still with the mother.



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