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Changing Your Diets? Ingredient Quality Testing is a Must

Managing feed costs has never been more critical to livestock and poultry producer profitability. Nutritionists are putting significant effort into reformulating diets to lower energy, reduce protein content and/or use inexpensive ingredients to lower the cost of feed. However, as producers and nutritionists consider changing diets, it’s critical to emphasize the importance of ingredient quality management.   

Knowing the quality of the components going into your livestock and poultry feed is vital to the success of your operation. While constant, real-time analysis of the nutrient content of ingredients may be impractical, understanding the risk factors associated with feed ingredients – new and old – is both practical and important. This information can help you to make informed decisions about interventions that will help mitigate variation in quality.

So, what types of things can impact the nutritional value of the diet?

  • Long-term storage of corn in grain bins, flat storage or rail cars can lead to reductions in nutritional quality, particularly in years where corn is harvested at higher moisture levels.
  • Mold and yeast growth in grains or complete feed, improperly ensiled forages and poor-quality fat all rob nutrients from the feed your animals rely on to maintain health and grow.
  • Mycotoxins in grains or grain byproducts can reduce intestinal integrity, leading to nutrient malabsorption, reduced feed intake or reproductive issues.
  • Oxidation of supplemental dietary fat can lead to oxidative stress and vitamin degradation, thereby depleting feed of essential nutrients needed to maintain the health and wellbeing of livestock.
  • Byproduct ingredients are often not the primary product produced, so processing facilities may give less consideration to contaminants like pathogens and harmful free radicals that may be present.
  • Water is also an essential nutrient but is often forgotten for its nutritional role. All good evaluations of nutrition should start and end with water quality analysis.

To ensure livestock and poultry are set up for success, producers must manage profit-robbing contaminants – molds, mycotoxins, oxidized fats, pathogens and more – in fat, grain, feed ingredients, water and finished feed. To help customers manage these contaminants, Kemin offers a specialized Customer Laboratory Services (CLS) team dedicated to supporting our customers as they work to clean up their feed and maximize its nutritional value and biosecurity.

Whether it’s looking at potential suppliers, evaluating current ingredient quality, recommending a solution, quantifying pathogens or checking product application rates, Kemin CLS is available to help answer each of our customer’s unique needs.

The Kemin CLS team routinely addresses concerns about baseline evaluation of mold and yeast counts in feed and feed ingredients. Regular monitoring of mold and mycotoxin levels in corn, along with data from partner commercial laboratories, provides customers with information on the initial quality of the crop at harvest and potential changes during storage. Lipid oxidation assessment – peroxide value and secondary oxidative markers – can be provided for incoming fat deliveries, fat from the storage tank or ingredients – rice bran, meat and bone meal, etc. – that are prone to oxidation. The Kemin CLS team can also check water pH, iron content and coliform load to maximize your water quality.

These are just a few of the ways the Kemin CLS team can assist with providing data for your risk management programs. To learn more about Kemin CLS services, ask your Kemin Sales Representative or contact us online.  

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