The effect of corn grain micronization on diet digestibility and blood biochemical parameters in weaned Holstein calves

Keywords: calf, grains, grower diets, feed efficiency, heat-processing


Aim of study: To evaluate corn grain micronization for calves fed a grower diet.

Area of study: Padinska Skela – Belgrade, Serbia.

Material and methods: Thirty weaned Holstein dairy calves (65–74 days of age) were randomly assigned to one of two treatments with growers containing micronized (MCG) or untreated corn grain (UCG). The experimental period lasted for 60 days.

Main results: The values of total tract apparent digestibility of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP), and nonfiber carbohydrates (NFC) were higher for calves fed MCG versus those within the UCG treatment by 3.9% (p<0.05), 7.0% (p<0.01), 7.1% (p<0.01) and 7.5% (p<0.05), respectively, for the days 25–30 of the experimental period. In addition, the values of digestibility of OM, CP, and NFC were higher by 4.9% (p<0.05), 5.7% (p<0.05), and 6.0% (p<0.05), respectively, for the days 55–60 of the experimental period. The density of metabolizable energy, net energy for maintenance and gain in consumed dietary DM was higher (p<0.001) by 4.7, 5.5, and 7.2%, respectively for calves fed on the grower containing micronized corn grain (MCG), during the first digestibility period, and by 3.0, 3.6, and 4.6%, respectively, during the second digestibility period. Energy intake was lower (p<0.05) during the second digestibility period, for calves fed a diet with micronized corn. Blood urea N was affected (p<0.001) by dietary treatments. Lower values (10.2%) were observed for calves fed the grower containing MCG.

Research highlights: The micronization of corn grain is a useful tool for optimizing weaned calf production due to the improvement in the digestibility and energy content of the ration.


Download data is not yet available.


Alvarado CG, Anrique RG, Navarrete SQ, 2009. Effect of including extruded, rolled or ground corn in dairy cow diets based on direct cut grass silage. Chil J Agric Res 69: 356-365.

Animal Welfare Act, 2009. Official Gazette of Republic of Serbia, 41/2009. Belgrade, Serbia.

AOAC, 2002. Official Methods of Analysis, 17th ed, 1st rev. Association of Analytical Communities, Gaithersburg, MD, USA.

Barajas R, Zinn RA, 1998. The feeding value of dry-rolled and steam-flaked corn in finishing diets for feedlot cattle: influence of protein supplementation. J Anim Sci 76: 1744-1752.

Bengochea WL, Lardy GP, Bauer ML, Soto-Navarro SA, 2005. Effect of grain processing degree on intake, digestion, ruminal fermentation, and performance characteristics of steers fed medium-concentrate growing diets. J Anim Sci 83: 2815-2825.

Chibisa GE, Gorka P, Penner GB, Berthiaume R, Mutsvangwa T, 2015. Effects of partial replacement of dietary starch from barley or corn with lactose on ruminal function, short-chain fatty acid absorption, nitrogen utilization, and production performance of dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 98: 2627-2640.

Chrenkova M, Formelova Z, Ceresnakova Z, Dragomir C, Rajsky M, et al., 2018. Rumen undegradable protein (RUP) and its intestinal digestibility after steam flaking of cereal grains. Czech J Anim Sci 63: 160-166.

Corona L, Rodriguez S, Ware RA, Zinn RA, 2005. Comparative effects of whole, ground, dry rolled, and steam flaked corn on digestion and growth performance in feedlot cattle. Prof Anim Sci 21: 200-206.

Corona L, Owens FN, Zinn RA, 2006. Impact of corn vitreousness and processing on site and extent of digestion by feedlot cattle. J Anim Sci 84: 3020-3031.

Deepa C, Hebbar HU, 2014. Micronization of maize flour: Process optimization and product quality. J Cereal Sci 60: 569-575.

Firkins JL, Eastridge ML, St-Pierre NR, Noftsger SM, 2001. Effects of grain variability and processing on starch utilization by lactating dairy cattle. J Anim Sci 79: E218-E238.

Galyean ML, Cole NA, Tedeschi LO, Branine ME, 2016. Board-Invited Review: Efficiency of converting digestible energy to metabolizable energy and reevaluation of the California Net Energy System maintenance requirements and equations for predicting dietary net energy values for beef cattle. J Anim Sci 94: 1329-1341.

Harmon DL, Yamka RM, Elam NA, 2004. Factors affecting intestinal starch digestion in ruminants: A review. Can J Anim Sci 84: 309-318.

Huhtanen P, Kaustell K, Jaakkola S, 1994. The use of internal markers to predict total digestibility and duodenal flow of nutrients in cattle given six different diets. Anim Feed Sci Technol 48: 211-227.

Huntington GB, 1997. Starch utilization by ruminants: From basics to the bunk. J Anim Sci 75: 852-867.

JASP Team, 2021. JASP (Version 0.15). Computer software.

Leibovich J, Vasconcelos JT, Galyean ML, 2009. Effects of corn processing method in diets containing sorghum wet distillers grain plus solubles on performance and carcass characteristics of finishing beef cattle and on in vitro fermentation of diets. J Anim Sci 87: 2124-2132.

López-Soto MA, Barreras A, Calderón-Cortés JF, Plascencia A, Urías-Estrada JD, Aguilar-Hernández JA, et al., 2014. Influence of processing of barley grain on characteristics of digestion, ruminal fermentation and digestible energy of diet in lactating cows. Iran J Appl Anim Sci 4: 477-484.

McAllister TA, Sultana H, 2011. Effects of micronization on the in situ and in vitro digestion of cereal grains. Asian Australas J Anim Sci 24: 929-939.

NRC, 2001. Nutrient requirements of dairy cattle, 7th rev. ed.. National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Owens FN, Soderlund S, 2006. Ruminal and postruminal starch digestion by cattle. Proc Cattle Grain Processing Symp, Tulsa (OK, USA), Nov 15-17. pp: 116-128.

Rahman MDM, Theodoridou K, Yu P, 2016. Using vibrational infrared biomolecular spectroscopy to detect heat-induced changes of molecular structure in relation to nutrient availability of prairie whole oat grains on a molecular basis. J Anim Sci Biotechnol 7: 52.

Sadeghi AA, Shawrang P, 2007. Effects of microwave irradiation on ruminal protein degradation and intestinal digestibility of cottonseed meal. Livest Sci 106: 176-181.

Sadeghi AA, Nikkhah A, Fattah A, Chamani M, 2012. The effects of micronisation on ruminal starch degradation of corn grain. World Appl Sci J 16: 240-243.

Safaei K, Yang WZ, 2017. Effects of grain processing with focus on grinding and steam-flaking on dairy cow performance. In: Herbivores; Shields VDC (Eds). IntechOpen.

Theurer CB, Huber JT, Delgado-Elorduy A, Wanderley R, 1999. Invited review: Summary of steam-flaking corn or sorghum grain for lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 82: 1950-1959.

Tosta M, 2019. Physiochemical, nutritional, molecular structural characterization and dairy cow feeding value of oat grain in comparison with barley grain: Impact of varieties and processing methods. Doctoral thesis, Dept of Anim & Poult Sci, Univ of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Tòthi R, 2003. Processed grains as a supplement to lactating dairy cows. Doctoral thesis, Wageningen Univ, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Van Keulen J, Young BA, 1977. Evaluation of acid-insoluble ash as a natural marker in ruminant digestibility studies. J Anim Sci 44: 282-287.

Weiss WP, 1999. Energy prediction equations for ruminant feeds. Proc Cornell Nutr Conf Feed Manuf, Syracuse (NY, USA), Oct 19-21. pp: 176-185.

Yu P, Goelema JO, Leury BJ, Tamminga S, Egan AR, 2002. An analysis of the nutritive value of heat processed legume seeds for animal production using the DVE/OEB model: A review. Anim Feed Sci Technol 99: 141-176.

Yu P, Niu Z, Christensen DA, 2010. Effects of partially replacing barley or corn with raw and micronised CDC SO-I oats on productive performance of lactating dairy cows. Arch Anim Nutr 64: 425-436.

Zinn RA, Owens FN, Ware RA, 2002. Flaking corn: Processing mechanics, quality standards, and impacts on energy availability and performance of feedlot cattle. J Anim Sci 80: 1145-1156.

How to Cite
STOJANOVICB., DJORDJEVICN., DAVIDOVICV., BOZICKOVICA., IVETICA., & OBRADOVICS. (2023). The effect of corn grain micronization on diet digestibility and blood biochemical parameters in weaned Holstein calves. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 21(1), e0601.
Animal production