The impact of hot and dry summers on grains

This summer’s heat wave in North-Western Europe has impacted grain farmers in several ways. Wheat harvest came particularly early, but crop size is likely below average. Another big difference is the contents of the kernel. The moisture content of the kernels will be low this year, reportedly as low as 10% in some places. That has some benefits and drawbacks to consider.

This summer’s heat wave in North-Western Europe has impacted grain farmers in several ways. Wheat harvest came particularly early, but crop size is likely below average. Another big difference is the contents of the kernel. The moisture content of the kernels will be low this year, reportedly as low as 10% in some places. That has some benefits and drawbacks to consider.

The good
Less treatment will be required before storage. A lower moisture content means a less interesting environment for molds and yeasts to grow. Less molds means a maintained level of nutrients and less mycotoxin formation. Or if you actively prevented molds before it may mean less investment in drying and/or preservation through organic acid based mold inhibitors.

The bad
The downside is that these dry kernels are very difficult to process in the feed mix for pelleting, impacting feed compounders and integrators alike. The pellet quality and digestibility will be affected, with a negative impact on FCR and higher feed cost as a consequence.

If you want to store the grains for over 6 months, please note that moisture from the environment will make its way into the grain as temperatures drop. This means that for longer storage periods it is still recommendable to dose a mold inhibitor.

Optimizing moisture content of feed pellets
When pelleting feed from these dry grains it can be very beneficial to look into moisture optimization in your process. The processing of raw materials into pellets will reduce the moisture content even more, likely resulting in pellets that fall apart with the slightest of movements. Moisture optimization means you reintroduce lost moisture in the milling process to the feed mix to create a homogenous mix with an optimized moisture level that is perfect for pelleting.

If you’re going to reintroduce a favorable amount of moisture to your feed you will also reintroduce a risk of mold formation. Therefore adding a mold inhibitor is recommendable. When optimizing the moisture content of your feed you want the new liquid that is introduced to have as low a surface tension as possible to promote homogenous mixing. Surfactants are a great aid for this purpose. Esters of fatty acids are well known emulsifiers and surfactants. Our ProSid™ MI 700 range contains mold inhibitors based on the esters of propionic acid.

Want to know more about specialty products about moisture optimization? Contact your local Perstorp Animal Nutrition sales manager >>

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