The nutritionist challenge: How to cook?

“The gap between a good feed formulation and the good pellet is the same as that between the nice flour recipe and a fine cake. It takes a good cook to bake a tasty cake”.

As a nutritionist have you ever taken the pellets of your least cost feed formulation in the hand out of the pellet press and been disappointed? How come the same feed formulation recipe gives you the different physical pellet quality machines after machines?  Why did your pellet physical quality vary so greatly from one machine to another?

This paper is here to tell you that when the mash meal particle size and uniformity (mixing) of the nutrient is maintained the problem with most pellet mistake isn’t in the ingredients but it is in the conditioning of your mash meal where most variation is made.

The Nutritionist Challenge How to Cook

Currently feed pelleting mostly revolves around engineering and nutrition science but the missing link is Food Science. Looking at feed pelleting from food science background gives it completely a different perspective and of utmost importance is to find an approach that will effectively cook the raw starch granule, which is the core of feed pelleting. This shall be our most important objective in this paper. Our work is finely focused on the criteria for cooking the raw starch matrixes (amylose / amylopectin) that has different characteristics, and how the cooking process physically takes place from the conditioner and through the die. Understanding steam physics is the first science we need to embrace, since we need to understand what we really want from steam for feed pelleting. The fundamental of steam engineering and steam management is something we need to address if we are to harbor any hope of improving steam conditioning. The food science of starch gelatinization provides a bigger picture for productive feed pelleting by which we can avoid issues with nutrient degradation in the attempt to cook raw starch too.

Touching base with “Food Science”, this paper will explain the relevance of proper steam conditioning on feed pelleting, and how working with the wrong steam type can negatively impact the feeding value of a feed formulation. Pellet feed processing do have a great influence on livestock performance.

Broiler diets contain high percentages of corn and, therefore, high proportions of starch. Under processing conditions using heat and moisture, starches gelatinize and help bind feed particles together. It is a well-known fact that raw starch needs to be appropriately cooked to achieve a decent level of starch gelatinization for intra particles bonding to achieve good pellet formation and machine efficiency. As there is no readily available water sorption in a feed pelleting process, steam conditioning is therefore the only means to get moisture and heat sufficiently infused into the raw starch granule, which can only be done with the relevant steam quality and sufficient dwell time for steam / mash interaction. A well-engineered conditioner provides all these functions. Steam conditioning is certainly the core of feed pelleting.

*Dr Naveen Kumar, Delst Asia – South Asia