Dr. Enrique Montiel, Global Director of Nutrition and Live Production, Dr. Joe Moritz, Professor of Poultry Science at West Virginia University, and Dr. Wilmer Pacheco, Professor of Poultry Science at Auburn University, engaged in a roundtable discussion with fellow industry experts during IPPE 2022. The group discussed challenges feed producers face during milling. Feed is the largest investment in animal production, and feed form can have significant impacts on mill efficiency, as well as animal performance. This meeting of industry minds led to an energetic discussion on challenges facing feed producers and tactics for optimizing pellet quality.
Challenges ranging from variability in feed ingredients to differing opinions between key decision-makers can make it difficult to balance production factors that determine pellet quality. Feed particulate size, moisture and throughput speeds are some of the key factors contributing to pellet quality, and each bears a cost to throughput. Our roundtable with the experts centered on key questions around these factors.
Question: PDI is dependent on how fast we push feed through the mill and that is often driven by the need for feed in live production. How can feed producers protect pellet quality while still meeting high throughput demands?
High feed demand requires mills to make feed faster, which can significantly impact pellet quality. High-quality pelleted feed results in lower feed conversion and increased live weight gain while minimizing feed waste through reduced fine production. A sure-fire way to improve pellet quality is to slow the process down, but when that isn’t an option, we must use other tactics to optimize the process. Managing moisture and particle size can help feed producers control pellet quality. Finer particle sizes have been shown to improve pellet quality. Still, it can slow down feed production and increase energy consumption within the process.
In contrast, coarser particulates can lead to greater throughput and improved bird performance but, in some cases, reduced pellet quality. In addition, coarse particles provide lower surface area for moisture absorption, leading to available water within feed formulations and increased risk of microbial proliferation. Moisture serves numerous functions within a feed formulation, playing a critical role in managing raw material variation, microbial growth, energy consumption, and pellet quality. Proper moisture management aids particulate binding, prevents prolific microbial growth and reduces process loss.
Many studies have been done examining the role of particle size in feed. Reducing feed particle size decreases nutrient segregation, increases feed surface area and improves the mixability of feed, however, it also increases mill energy consumption and can lead to reduced gizzard development if feed particles become too fine. Various pieces of literature authored by Dr. Moritz and Dr. Pacheco have found that feeding birds coarse particles in a mash diet can lead to increased feed intake, decreased feed efficiency, and greater gizzard weights. It is important to make pellets that are composed of particle sizes that can stimulate gut development, 800 µm to 1250 µm, depending on bird size and age. Moisture levels are set by nutritionist specifications and play a critical part in gelatinization and protection of feed nutrients by aiding in the uniform distribution of heat through the feed.
Question: How can feed producers best balance feed nutrient value and mill throughput?
Producing high-quality pelleted feed is a balancing act, and the key is to control variables that have a significant impact on nutritional quality and milling efficiency. What can we control that helps producers provide nutritious feed at the rate at which it is needed? Particle size is one variable we can exert control over. Grinding feed ingredients improves pellet quality as well as nutrient utilization by birds. Another impactful variable is moisture management. Properly managed moisture improves mill efficiency by reducing g pellet mill energy consumption and increases pellet quality by enhancing gelatinization between feed particles. To protect against nutrient degradation during pelleting, even and uniform moisture distribution and absorption within a feed formulation is essential.
As the world’s leading feed specialist, Anitox is proud to host discussions among the experts. We recognize that rising feed costs and increased demand make milling efficiency more important than ever. Maxi-Mil is here to help feed producers get the most out of their mills and achieve nutritionist-set moisture targets. As a milling efficiency aid, Maxi-Mil is specially formulated to reduce the surface tension of water and improve moisture absorption in feed, promoting uniform absorption of moisture and the gelatinization of feed particles.
If you are ready to learn more about how Maxi-Mil can help you get more out of your mill, or if you have a question for our experts, contact us today