World Grain - February 2021 - 40

FEED QUARTERLY: FEED OPERATIONS

Factors impacting
pellet quality

Pelleting benefits can outweigh added costs
through improved animal performance

Pelleting feed provides many benefits from improved palatability and flowability, to decreased feed wastage, reduced
ingredient segregation and destruction of pathogens. While
pelleting feed comes at an additional cost, the benefits can
offset these costs through improved animal performance.
When pelleting diets, feed mills must determine what is
their target pellet quality. Ingredient composition, equipment design, and manufacturing parameters influence pellet quality. For swine and poultry feeds, reducing the percentage of fines at the feeder is the objective of producing
good quality pellets. However, each production system is
different, and a variety of factors can influence the handling stress pellets undergo and the amount of fines generated. Although the amount of fines is the major concern,
feed mills require a methodology to estimate pellet quality for quality assurance purposes. Therefore, cooled pellet
samples are collected at the feed mill to determine pellet
durability index to estimate pellet quality.
Feed mash conditioning
Pelleting properties of mash feed can be influenced by a range
of variables, some better understood than others. The pelleting
process begins by feeding dry mash feed into a conditioning
chamber where heat and moisture is applied via steam. As the
feed exits the conditioner, it is compressed through a die to form
pellets and then cooled before being stored prior to shipment.
For decades, researchers have explored the relationship
40

WG_Feb21.indb 40

of raw ingredient characteristics, feed conditioning and die
specifications on optimized pellet quality. Proper mash feed
conditioning is the first major step of the pelleting process and
is necessary to achieve optimum production rates, pellet quality, energy usage, and die and roll life. Increasing the amount
of steam used in the conditioning process will in turn result
in increased conditioning temperature and moisture added to
the feed.
Generally, this response to the addition of heat and moisture
has been attributed to altered physico-chemical properties of
the feed, typically leading to improved binding properties between. In addition, conditioning the feed is necessary to help
lubricate the feed and push it through the die. However, different amounts of heat and moisture are required to adequately
pellet different types of feed.
Traditionally, it has been determined that conditioned mash
moisture should approach 17% or 18% and the temperature
should reach approximately 82.2°C when pelleting corn and
soybean meal-based diets. This recently was confirmed in research conducted at Kansas State University that demonstrated conditioning the diet to 89.9°C via added steam acted as a
lubricant to help push the feed through the die with reduced
friction, while conditioning the particles to bind together
when extruded through the die.
This lubrication effect was confirmed by the decrease
in change in temperature across the die as the conditioning
temperature was increased to 89.9°C. In addition, increasing

©Kare1501 - stock.adobe.com

by Chad Paulk

February 2021 / World Grain / World-Grain.com

2/12/2021 8:30:50 AM


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World Grain - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain - February 2021

World Grain - February 2021 - 1
World Grain - February 2021 - 1
World Grain - February 2021 - 2
World Grain - February 2021 - 3
World Grain - February 2021 - 4
World Grain - February 2021 - 5
World Grain - February 2021 - 6
World Grain - February 2021 - 7
World Grain - February 2021 - 8
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