Location: AnaLab (Fulton, IL)
In the 1990’s European research found 12-15% differences (and more) in the digestibility of floury (soft) vs vitreous (hard) corn in ruminants. Other European researchers, who were working on digestibility of corn and energy absorption of swine, created simulated pig performance testing. They developed a laboratory test that helped eliminate inaccuracies of management and climate and predict energy absorption of multiple corn types. Their research concluded similar disparity that strongly favored floury corn genetics.
In the summer of 2013 AnaLab conducted a simulated monogastric test to simulate swine digestion, in order to study what type of grain would be most efficient in feeding. This would be a mono-gastric digestibility analysis on dry ground samples of MC floury corn verses hard endosperm corn. Using the European model they set out to see if they could develop a less expensive and quicker way to determine differences in energy absorption from different corn varieties in swine.
This process is similar to the way they analyze the digestibility of silage samples. They dropped the corn sample in a vat with simulated mono-gastric fluid, weighing the sample before it went in, then removed it out after 8hrs and weighed it again. AnaLab tested several floury varieties against hard endo varieties at two different grind sizes – .8mm (dust) and 3mm (hammer mill).
How Things Panned Out
The preliminary results of this test were very revealing. As we expected there was more starch/energy released and “digested” from the floury varieties than the hard endo ones. In fact the preliminary numbers were very favorable for floury grain. There was 17% more starch available from the 3mm grind floury samples than from the hard. In the samples that were ground to .8mm the floury corn sill had 6.5% more starch availability than the hard. – Now, no farmer is ever going to be able to grind their feed to .8mm and it would not be healthy for an animal if they could. Even if they could, according to these results there would still be considerably more energy available in floury corn.
Most of what we have heard in opposition to floury corn has been, “All corn is the same; just grind the hard corn longer, ensile it longer, process it more and you get the same amount of energy/starch out of it.” After this research, that in fact, does not seem to be the case. Floury corn just simply feeds better!