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Kemin’s Tips for Understanding New Grain Syndrome

At Kemin, we know that using fresh grains for the preparation of livestock compound feed immediately after harvest can result in substantial health and performance problems. Significantly reduced feed intake, gastroenteritis, fever, diarrhea, hives, vitamin deficiencies, and lower gains have been widely reported.

New Grain Syndrome can easily be prevented by storing the grains for several weeks before using them in feed application. This is because the associated negative effects observed seem to gradually decrease as time goes by.

For many producers, this is not an option due to geopolitics, raw material shortages, and high feed costs — all of which necessitate a quick implementation of available cereals to safeguard the supply to feed livestock.

At Kemin, we have conducted research on New Grain Syndrome, to advance industry knowledge using guidance and solutions that ensure the immediate use of freshly harvested grains to their fullest potential with maintaining optimal animal production performances and business profitability.

The challenges during and post-harvesting of grain

During and shortly after the harvesting of cereals various challenges can occur:

  1. No or limited storage time. Due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the industry faces significant shortages in raw materials, and demand highly exceeds supply, resulting in record prices. Consequently, freshly harvested grains will go to farms immediately, without storage or any waiting time for the settling of grains' nutritive value.
  2. Changes post-harvest in nutritive value.1,2 Large variations can exist in AME content between, or even within the same type of grain at harvest.
  3. High intrinsic non-starch polysaccharide (NSP) content correlated to viscosity. This content naturally reduces over time due to endogenous glycanase activity, but it might require several months.
  4. High microbial activity: This can be very high as the process of harvesting triggers bacterial and fungal activity.
  5. Damage to grains before and during harvest. Causes can be too late timing, poor weather conditions, or poor equipment used during harvesting.
  6. Delay in harvesting. Often occurs due to wet weather conditions, when there is a need to let the grains dry first, and/or the capacity of the dryers is lower than the capacity of the harvesters.
  7. Too low or too high moisture levels. When too dry challenges may occur, for example, harvesting losses/shatter losses and increased dustiness, or, when too wet a high risk of spoilage.
  8. Oxidation of the grains.


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New Grain Syndrome — Multi-factorial causes?

Oxidative reactions in the cereal linked to the activity of lipoxygenase. When the grain is harvested, many enzymatic reactions are still ongoing such as the activity of endogenous lipoxygenase (LO). Grinding of the grains liberates this LO enzyme from the germ, therefore triggering its activity and increasing its contact with the fatty acids in the grains. It oxidizes the fatty acids very quickly and this can easily lead to higher peroxide values in the grain and rancid feed3.

Our internal research at Kemin has proven that the grinding of newly harvested grain triggers oxidative reactions as seen in higher peroxide values. In the brewing and bakery industries, this link between grinding and increased enzymatic reactions has been widely known for a long time.

Additionally, feeding diets containing oxidized components to pigs and poultry has been shown to reduce feed intake and subsequent performance (Fellenberg and Speisky, 2006).

Furthermore, consumption of oxidized feed also increases in-vivo oxidative stress which leads to significant negative health effects.

Choct and Hughes 1,2, describe a second possible connection between NGS and the presence of high levels of viscous non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) hence the intrinsic soluble dietary fiber content of the grain. Research has shown that at harvest, the NSP content of grain can be substantially higher than that of stored grains.

Feeding diets high in NSPs increases the viscosity of digesta due to their gel-forming properties. This reduces gut throughput, decreases feed intake and additionally, the formation of gels encapsulates nutrients, reducing the ability of endogenous enzymes to degrade nutrients for subsequent absorption. Choct and Hughes studied the nutritive value of new season grain over time and found that the AME of newly harvested wheat, barley, and maize all increased during storage, for some samples by as much as 29% even after 10 months of storage. This could be explained by the activation of endogenous glycanases in the grain during its storage, accelerating the breakdown of NSPs, naturally reducing the downstream effects such as reduced feed intake, gut throughput, and subsequent growth performance losses.

  1. Choct et al. 1997 The nutritive value of new season grains for poultry
  2. Choct et al. 2000 The New Season Grain Phenomenon: The Role of Endogenous Glycanases in the Nutritive Value of Cereal Grains in Broiler Chickens.

KEMIN’s Solutions for Mitigating New Grain Syndrome

Avoiding New Grain Syndrome is therefore key as it can have a significantly negative impact on your business’ profitability. To do so, we need a strategy that enables us to feed animals newly harvested grains and get the maximum benefit out of them, while prohibiting any detrimental impact on animal health and performance.

At Kemin, we propose 2 solutions that can be perfectly combined into one program to tackle this challenge:

  1. the use of a unique antioxidant blend in the feed combined with,
  2. a multi-enzyme solution with broad effectiveness in degrading NSPs.

Antioxidants are key to addressing oxidation challenges. Our research into New Grain Syndrome proves that the treatment of fresh grains with a unique antioxidant blend, Paradigmox®, can preserve their nutritive value.

Paradigmox could significantly reduce peroxide values to acceptable levels like those of stored grains. This convenient and heads-on approach offers a cost-effective strategy to allow the immediate use of freshly harvested grains in monogastric diets.

Read the full study in our Technical Literature

Added to the importance of antioxidants is that of multi-enzymes. KEMZYME® Plus dry is a unique* multi-enzyme solution for complex substrates, containing three different NSP enzymes (xylanase, β-glucanase, and cellulase) for the degradation of structural NSP, designed to have maximum functionality in varying feed formulations.

An internal study at Kemin confirmed its high potential value in the case of newly harvested grains, such as wheat and barley, when higher levels of viscosity are found.

Reducing the viscosity of KEMZYME® Plus dry promotes:

  • Less bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and subsequent deconjugation of bile salts, avoiding reduced efficacy of lipid emulsification;
  • Increased contact between feed and digestive enzymes, therefore improving nutrient digestibility (mostly starch, protein, and lipids);
  • Better litter quality consequently healthier foot pads and fewer carcass downgrades; and ultimately,
  • Better performance parameters, such as feed efficiency and growth rates.

* the only EU registered additive with 5 declared and quantified enzyme activities; Identification number 4a1620i

Download the full report

KEMIN Customer Laboratory Services offers unique support when it comes to predicting or detecting potential risks of New Grain Syndrome. Based on an in-depth analysis of both various oxidative parameters (primary and secondary oxidation) and nutritional parameters, insights can be gained into the oxidative quality of freshly harvested grains, including their sensitivity towards future oxidation. This enables feed producers to select the best sources and suppliers for their particular feed manufacturing. Samples of your grains can be submitted to Kemin Customer Laboratory Services for any of the following analysis:

  • Oxidative parameters
    • Peroxide values (PV),
    • Thiobarbituric acid values (TBA),
    • Antioxidant recovery
  • Nutritional parameters
    • Free fatty acids (FFA)

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