Moisture optimization in feed, why and how!

An optimal moisture level in feed favors feed mill efficiency, pellet quality and feed intake of livestock. However, in many countries and for many feed mills a proper water content in compound feed is a critical parameter which is not that easily reached. This is mainly due to climatic conditions but also to normal feed production steps.

During feed processing water is usually lost in the form of vapor and this will lead to higher production costs. Friction and wear forces will decrease the life time of the machinery and this will require a higher energy output. It is generally estimated that under practical conditions a water loss between 0.3 and up to 1.5% can take place.
Moreover, a lower water content in the feed mixture has been shown to be linked to lower level of starch gelatinization and pellet quality parameters (pellet durability, bulk density). Therefore a proper water level in final feed will contribute positively to a successful production at feed mill but also at farm level.

The addition of pure water (1-2%) during processing in the feed-mill has been tested as possible measure to counteract water loss. However this strategy alone does not compensate the moisture loss because the added water does not bind itself easily to the feed matrix. It simply covers the feed surface creating additional free water.

This leads to two main negative consequences:
a) most of the water evaporates during processing and
b) the remaining water becomes a perfect substrate for mold and bacteria growth

Perstorp now offers a full concept for this application with innovative organic acid molecules based on the ester technology in combination with modern dosing equipment. Esters of propionic acid act with double effect. In synergy with the surfactant this molecule considerably lowers water surface tension. In this way water can more easily diffuse in the feed, a larger contact surface between water and feed particles is reached and the risk of evaporation is reduced. Furthermore, propionic acid esters exert a long-lasting inhibiting effect towards molds and other microorganisms which could start to grow. So also the risk of alteration in feed quality and palatability are minimized.

Because moisture optimization requires very specific tools, a state-of-the-art dosing equipment has been also recently released by Perstorp to be used for this application.