The problem of “quality pellets” & “fines” has been around for quite some time with this feed industry. There have been a number of recent discussion and enquiries about pellet quality and the influence of “fines” on bird performance as well. Although, there is no doubt that a higher percentage of “fines” can lead to problems in feed handling, perhaps more feed wastage and if the percentage is high enough, reduced bird performance. But how to get this message across to many of the growers in the field is still remains a challenge to the feed manufacturers. Today majority of commercial broiler diets are manufactured through the pelleting process. However, the durability of pellets can be variable, resulting in levels of fines as high as 50%. Incidences of high levels of fines in the field are associated with poor live weight and FCR. To maximize performance, the accumulation of fine particles in the feed should be minimized. As the feed manufacturing process is costly both in capital investment and in execution, it is important to establish the modern broiler’s response to high levels of fines.
The Economic Impact of Reducing Fines Below is the study used to calculate the economic effect of poor feed form. The effect of reducing fines to 0% gave an increase in body weight of 412g/bird. In terms of value, if live weight prices are calculated at rupees 70 per kg, this additional weight is worth over rupees 28 per bird, therefore a 10% reduction in feed fines is, potentially, worth rupees 2.8 per bird. This calculation is based just on live weight and does not take into account the effect of feed form on FCR. Using an annualized calculation based on 100 million broilers per year throughput, this represents an increase in profit of rupees 280 million*. This calculation is based on response data from trial data and assumes the effect of fines addition is linear, however, it does show that there is significant scope for improvement in both biological and financial performance if feed form is improved. *The figures quoted are based on European growth and economic performance and converted to rupees The above study clearly indicates that feed is too expensive to waste, so pellet quality has an economic value. There are a number of excellent methods to objectively measure and record the quality of pellets during the manufacturing process. This is the first step toward correcting destructive conditions and reducing fines. Other disadvantages of fines includes:
1. Dusting potential
2. Flow properties and proportioning gets impaired by fines
3. Remainders in silos and bins will be increased by fines
4. Fines and dust are preferred nutrients and habitats for germs and micro organisms of any kind
Improving pellet durability is an effective means of reducing fines. Pellet durability may be improved by manipulation of diet formulation and improving feed manufacturing practices. Feed manufacturing practices adjusted to suitable to ambient climatic conditions and native ingredients will have a profound effect on pellet durability and potentially involve less expense than changing raw materials or using pellet binders.