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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 solving oxidation challenges. They ensure optimal performance and carcass quality and preserve the nutritional composition of diets. Additionally, our research into New Grain Syndrome proves that grinding the newly harvested grain triggers oxidative reactions.  These oxidative reactions cause the peroxide value of the grain to rise significantly. In the brewing and bakery industries it is already known that grinding triggers enzymatic reactions. These reactions initiate lipolysis whereby fatty acids are released from their glycerol backbone. Co-enzyme A can then attach itself to the alpha and beta carbons in the fatty acid chain, breaking the fatty acid chains into 2-carbon acetyl COA molecules in a beta oxidation reaction.

Our research aimed at identifying a viable solution for this syndrome exploring if the application of an antioxidant will mitigate this observed effect and limit the reaction, reducing peroxide values to more acceptable levels. The results are clear: implementing an antioxidant, such as PARADIGMOX®, is an effective strategy. The antioxidant controls and significantly reduces the peroxide value to acceptable levels similar to 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 an effective NSP-degrading enzyme such as KEMZYME® PLUS Dry. This unique multi-enzyme blend contains several NSP-degrading enzymes including xylanase, beta-glucanase and cellulase, in addition to a protease and amylase. The combination of several NSP enzymes ensures that the broadest range of NSPs are degraded. This results in a reduction of the gel-forming properties of NSPs, therefore reducing digesta viscosity and increasing gut throughput and consequently removing the negative performance effects associated with high NSP content.

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

Finally, we recommend the use of an effective mould inhibitor to prevent mould formation, which can lead to mycotoxin production and a reduction in quality and nutrient value, if left unmanaged.

Read more about Myco CURB® on our dedicated webpage

It’s important to understand the impact of exterior influences on the oxidative quality of your diet and therefore the performance of the animals. One of the critical factors observed is the variations in the raw materials, including fats and oils, but equally important is the presence of oxidation provoking enzymes such as lipoxygenase. 

The Kemin Customer Laboratory Services specialist team annually examines hundreds of fats and oils, feed and feed raw material samples used in livestock production for their oxidative status. Close examination of Kemin’s database reveals a “huge variation in nutritional and oxidative quality”. Therefore, as part of ²a good quality management programme, total evaluation (primary and secondary oxidation parameters) of actively present oxidation molecules and sensitivity towards future oxidation should be standardly performed. 

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1. Oxidative parameters

  • Peroxide values (PV),
  • Thiobarbituric acid values (TBA),
  • Oxidative Stability Instrument (OSI)
  • Antioxidant recovery

2. Nutritional parameters

  • Free fatty acids (FFA),
  • Ratio unsaturated vs. Saturated fatty acids (U/S) (fats & oils)

There is a variety of secondary toxic metabolites produced by fungi or molds known as mycotoxins that can negatively affect animal health and performance. The seasonal dependent prevalence of mycotoxins in different feeds and feed raw materials makes it very critical for each animal nutrition and health professional to have an mycotoxin evaluation program in place. 

Kemin’s Mycotoxin service portfolio includes on farm raw material evaluation testing, profound laboratory service on finished feed and feed raw materials products and mapping out prevalence of mycotoxins today based upon targeted animal species, raw materials, region, ...

1.      On farm mycotoxin raw material evaluation

  • Rapid testing
  • Quick and effective way of raw material screening
  • Prediction of requirement of mycotoxin binder

2.      Profound finished feed laboratory services

  • Various mycotoxin evaluation
  • Variety of matrices
  • Specific and precise measurements
  • Full mycotoxin risk assessment

3. Mycotoxins today

  • Thousands of mycotoxin analysis
  • Regional mycotoxin data
  • Seasonal mycotoxin data
  • Risk assessment
  • Benchmarking
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