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Feeding Cattle Coarse Mixes

880 000 tonnes/year, or 4,2% of French compound  feed production. That is what has become of this activity, completely integrated into the world of animal feed. A coarse mix is a feed mainly intended for milk and meat cattle. It consists of uncrushed materials whose components are visible to the naked eye, a safe argument for farmers. However, this advantage can quickly turn into disadvantage if precautions are not taken during the manufacturing process and transportation. What are the success factors for a good coarse mix?  

What is a coarse mix?

A coarse mix is a blend of raw materials and semi-finished uncrushed products, as opposed to standard compound feed. Coumpound feeds are usually the object of careful dosage; they have been grinded and mixed in the case of “mash” feed, and pelleted in the case of other types of feed. A coarse mix is an interesting feeding option due to its swift, simple, and therefore economic manufacturing process. However, it is now considered a genuine form of feed, and as such, it is subject to regulations: labelling obligations and hygiene regulations, with all the usual requirements (qualification processes, monitoring…).
A coarse mix is a hybrid form of feed. It was especially designed to respond  to the lack of trust that hit farmers after the BSE crisis in the 1990’s. It reflects the imperative requirement to “see” the raw materials intended for feeding livestock and greater transparency in the labelling (list of raw materials or categories of ingredients). It is presented in the form of unprocessed raw materials, of semi-finished products, of mineral feed and additives.
A coarse mix can contain a significant proportion of long fibers (alfalfa, hay, straw…,), cereals processed (flattened, rolled, flaked…), complementary nuclei pellet (protein, energy…), molasses (or equivalent liquid products), blends of additives…

How can one manage to design a coarse mix?

The formulation and presentation of the raw materials is crucial to produce a homogeneous mix that can satisfy the farmer, and make the ruminants want to ingest it. Therefore it is advisable to ensure accuracy of dosages and respect the integrity of the ingredients. A short manufacturing circuit is a priority especially in case a specific production line . The order of dosage, liquid spraying, mixing equipment, transfers and storage capacity also require increased vigilance

A coarse mix must keep its homogeneity

All coarse mixes pose a risk of demixing due to the wide range in particle size of their components (a few hundred microns to several centimeters). Added to this, is a large range of densities. Coarse mixes cannot easily withstand falls whilst in the storage units and too many shocks during transport.  Both are extremely harmful to maintain  a good coefficient of variation, a parameter imposed because coarse mix is considered a compound feed. A homogeneity control must be regularly performed.

The TECHNA Group assists you in finding a coarse mix feeding solution adapted to the needs of your clients thanks to our knowledge of raw materials and their treatments (flattening, rolling, flaking…). Our expertise also covers  manufacturing techniques of the coarse blend, methods of control, and distribution tools. For more information, do not hesitate to contact our experts

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