Kemin Knows Efficient Feed Processing
Compound feed production is a complicated operation that requires processing of a heterogeneous mixture of many ingredients into uniform pellets. Feed mills are facing important challenges, such as ensuring profitability and safety of milling operations. Other areas that will pay dividends are sustainability and process control automation to reduce variability and improve data collection and record keeping.
Ensuring the Profitability of Feed Processing
Feed mills are fundamental to animal production. Furthermore, the efficiency of modern feed mills significantly contributes to ensuring secure supplies of food of animal origin for the human population. However, feed mills are still facing wide variations in the price and sometimes the supply of feed raw materials. Energy costs, consumer demands, regulatory requirements, competition pressure and low prices for livestock products are all factors that can impact feed mill profitability.
Feed mill operators have done just about all they can to increase feed profitability by reducing costs at the raw material level. But there are more ways to increase feed production profitability and feed processing productivity.
Compound feed production is a very complicated operation which requires the processing of a heterogeneous mixture of many ingredients into uniform pellets.
With heterogeneous feed mixtures, there is a risk of separation during transport and storage. The feed ingredients typically have a high dusting potential that results in loss of material.
Focus on Feed Processing Brings Additional Ways to Increase Profitability
Good pellet quality is important as it brings several benefits such as compaction that reduces feed volume, saving transport and storage capacity. Good pellets have a homogeneous shape and are stable in transport and storage that reduces loss from dust or fines. High temperature pelleting is a valuable tool for feed hygiene and improves nutrient digestibility. Good quality pellets with little dust or fines are usually well accepted by the animals. By contrast, a poorly pelleted feed can lead to selective feed ingestion by the animals.
Energy consumption, feed processing productivity and pellet quality (expressed as abrasion index) are the most important criteria for the evaluation of the pelleting process. These are influenced both by feed mixture composition and process parameters. To enhance energy efficiency and productivity, pellet quality and mass throughput, the die dimensions need to be optimised.
Clearly, energy use is significant in feed manufacturing, and energy consumption needs to be reduced as part of a sustainability programme.
Feed manufacturing is a complicated and expensive business and in order to maintain feed profitability, it's important to ensure all aspects of the manufacturing process are optimised. Energy costs are particularly important both from an economic and sustainability viewpoint and reduction in variability of batches helps here. Good feed hygiene and the production of highly digestible feeds is also necessary. These parameters can be positively improved by carefully monitoring the production process. Good monitoring of the process and data collection becomes increasingly important to manage the modern feed mill.
Through product development, equipment manufacturing and engineering technology, Kemin is able to make substantial contributions to improving the profitability of feed manufacturing.
Making Feed Processing Less Complex
Feed represents around 75 percent of the cost of animal production and the cost of feed manufacturing is estimated to be 10 percent. In today’s world, all improvements that optimise the bottom line in feed production through introducing process improvements steps are welcomed by feed manufacturers. These improvements can have a direct effect (e.g. reducing energy consumption in the feed mill and production output) as well as an indirect effect (e.g. improved pellet quality and durability). Through securing the production process, a feed mill runs most efficiently and can generate a significant competitive advantage.
Feed milling efficiency can be achieved by:
- Minimizing ingredient segregation
- Eliminating shrinkage
- Reducing production process variability
- Assuring product quality
- Improving nutrient and feed utilization by the animals
- Savings in energy use
- Increasing production rate
Regular data collection and record keeping can also help feed mills be more efficient.
Optimizing Feed Mill Profitability and Pellet Quality
When animals are fed pellets they can eat more and ultimately gain in performance. Pellets can improve the conversion rate of feed to meat while increasing the chance of the animal getting the nutrients it needs. However, feed pellet quality remains variable and some production or conditioning programs at feed mills are not optimal enough to guarantee higher nutrient density and ultimately higher pellet quality.