Researchers from Golden Harvest Seeds, Inc. and Iowa State University (ISU) have united to learn how corn kernel traits influence pig weight gain and performance.

The Golden Harvest-funded project began in November 2004.

Historical data has shown that the test weight of corn was not a good indicator of animal performance.

The Golden Harvest Agronomy Up Front research team is now working with ISU researchers to determine the influence of corn kernel characteristics on swine, poultry, broiler and poultry layer performance, says Wayne Fithian, Golden Harvest agronomy systems manager.

The research team at Golden Harvest has been studying the placement of hybrids in different growing and soil conditions. This focus on feed performance looks at hybrid characteristics in ways to benefit the end user.

“We know variations exist in feeding value among corn hybrids,” says Fithian. “The goal is to identify which hybrids are best suited for the most efficient performance in swine and poultry. Ultimately, that knowledge could be extremely useful for corn, swine and poultry producers.”

The animal feeding studies will test kernel size and hardness of the corn planted at Webster City, IA, as well as animal feeding components such as protein, starch and oil. The corn was shipped to ISU where it was ground and formulated into feed based on National Research Council recommendations.

Animals are being fed and managed based on industry standards, so the results will be as useful as possible to livestock producers, reports Kristjan Bregendahl, assistant professor of Animal Science at ISU and lead researcher. Growth performance and carcass characteristics will also be recorded.

“Ideally, we’ll be able to help growers and livestock producers by defining the nutritional value of different corn hybrid traits on performance so they can make more informed choices,” says Bregendahl.