Introduction and Objectives


Grain comprises the majority of the diet that swine and poultry consume in most parts of the world. In the USA, corn is the most widely used grain source for livestock feeding. Approximately two-thirds of the corn used by food-producing animals in the USA is consumed by swine and poultry (Figure 1). Therefore, it is important that anyone involved in the grain industry have a thorough understanding of swine and poultry nutrition to ensure grains closely match the dietary needs of these animals. Otherwise, it may become more difficult to produce pork and poultry products that consumers demand in an environmentally friendly and economic manner. The objectives of this lesson are shown below. It is assumed that the information presented about swine in this lesson applies to poultry unless noted otherwise.


  • To describe key components of the digestive tract and digestion in pigs and poultry
  • To describe dietary needs of pigs and poultry and how grain contributes
  • To describe concepts of amino acid essentially and balance and nutrient bioavailability
  • To explain the impact that grain characteristics have on diet formulation
  • To explain the role that modified grain may have for pork and poultry producers

Development of this lesson was supported in part by the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and a Course/Program Development grant from the University of Nebraska Office of Extended Education and Outreach. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s).