Animal feed

Optimizing moisture content in feed

Optimizing moisture content in feed is very important from an economic point of view.  It is also very important to maintain correct feed quality.  However, too much moisture leads to rapid mould development.

Two factors make this optimization process even more important:

1) Agricultural prices have not been higher for the last 40 years. The raw material needs to be utilized efficiently in the feed production process.

2) Energy prices are continuing to rise. This means the running configuration of all equipment including the cooler, needs to be optimized to give the correct moisture content of the final feed.

Correct moisture content of feed before pelletizing

Correct moisture content of feed before pelletizing will reduce energy usage of the press.  However, the added bonus of energy savings is that quality of pellets in terms of pellet hardness has been found to be improved when pressed at the correct moisture level.  If the moisture content before the pellet press is too low the result can be:

- Nutrients are lost as a result of the increased heat in the pellet press

- Moisture content is reduced as a result of increased heat in the pellet press

It is therefore important to compensate for loss of moisture that occurs during grinding and cooling process of the feed production, in order to reach the final target moisture content for three reasons:

- Efficient utilization of raw material

- Energy savings

- Better pellet quality

New technology makes it easier for the feed milling company to control the moisture better.

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The iScan online moisture sensor is a scanner measuring moisture content instantly, using microwave technology.  The advantage of microwave technology compared with near infrared (NIR) systems is that the microwaves are not affected by other constituents such as fat or protein.  On the other hand, the advantage of NIR systems is that these systems also detect other constituents such as protein and fat, but they need to be calibrated for each recipe.  The iScan online moisture sensor monitors continuously the moisture content, temperature and in some cases the density of the feed in real time.  The results are shown in the feed mill´s control room.

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Software interface from the iScan moisture sensor.  Graphs in real time of moisture,temperature and density of feed.  Measurement location can be in batch mixer or in cooler.

Intelscan has installed several systems to optimize moisture content in feed.  A typical system setup is shown below:

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Feed production flow chart.  Moisture is measured at beginning and end of the process.

Optimization of moisture content in feed

In the above setup, the iScan sensor measures the moisture content in the mix under the batch mixer.  The information is sent to Intelscan’s AquaSmart software.  Another iScan sensor placed in the cooler will measure the moisture content of the finished pellets.  This finished pellet moisture needs to be as close to the target moisture as possible.

Customer experience

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