The use of agricultural by-products has become the central focus in reducing feed costs in pig production. However, there is a need to determine how the gastrointestinal tract of pigs responds when subjected to fibrous ingredients. The objective of the study was to predict villi height and apparent villi surface area from physicochemical measurements of maize cob-based diets. Eighteen growing male pigs (initial bodyweight 14.3 ± 1.20 kg) were used in the experiment. The pigs were penned individually and subjected to diets containing 0 g, 80 g, 160 g, 240 g, 320 g, and 400 g maize cob meal/kg diet. Feed and water were provided ad libitum. Using stepwise regression, bulk density (BD) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) were the best predictor variables influencing villi height (VH) and apparent villi surface area (AVSA). VH produced quadratic and linear responses with BD and NDF, respectively. The equations are VH = 211.3(BD)2 – 591.0(BD) + 442.4; and VH = 0.03(NDF) + 22.8. Conversely, AVSA produced quadratic and linear responses with NDF and BD, respectively. The equations are AVSA = 0.00036(NDF)2 – 0.012(NDF) +7.25 and AVSA = – 47.12(BD) + 45.03. In conclusion, the BD and NDF of a feed could be used to predict VH and AVSA of growing pigs fed maize cobs.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher