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The Raw Materials and Feed Quality Control Plan: A Necessary Stage in Animal Nutrition

The task of a feed mill consists of blending a set of raw materials and additive premixes in order to produce a feed according to a specific formula. Then, to ensure the compliance of this manufactured feed with legislation and the product label, the finished product and the raw materials that compose it must be submitted to a quality control plan. What are the benefits of this procedure? How can an effective quality control plan be implemented?

Why should a quality control plan be carried out in a feed mill?

There are several advantages to submitting your raw materials and feeds to a quality control plan:

  • Legal: The manufactured feed must comply with the current legislation and the guarantees defined on the product label.
  • Zootechnical: The animal is certain to receive a feed that meets its nutritional constraints while allowing for the achievement of the targeted  performance results.
  • Economic: The coherence between the quality of the raw material received in the feed mill and the nutritional values entered in the formulation software is validated. Regular checks and updates of these values can result in a financial gain of several euros for each ton of manufactured feed.
  • Commercial: Customers’ satisfaction is sought by providing them with a feed that meets their  expectations.

How can this control plan of feed and raw materials be carried out effectively?

This method relies on four key-points:

  • The raw materials and finished products that are to be controlled: While analysis of each raw material is recommended at least once a year, analysing all the manufactured feeds in quick sessions can sometimes turn out to be impossible. Instead, representative samples of these feeds shall be chosen, i.e., large volumes of feeds or feeds that are intended for a specific or a sensitive purpose (ex: starter).

  • The number and frequency of sampling: Both depend on the volume and the variability inherent in each of these raw materials. A co-product — for example wheat bran — usually requires more analysis pressure than a relatively standardised product such as salt or calcium carbonate.

  • The economic impact : A variation of 0.5 point of the soybean meal protein can end up costing more than one euro per ton of feed. The analysis method (accuracy, cost) and overall allocated budget will also impact the total number of potential analyses.

  • Standard analyses, in-depth analyses, manufacturing analyses: Standard analysis are the most widespread as they are usually quick and inexpensive. They are indispensible for making monthly updates to the values in the formulation (moisture, protein, fat, crude fiber, starch, ash, etc ...). Using a near infrared spectrometers (NIR) is a cost-effective way to increase this type of analysis. In-depth analyses (analyses made on one batch out of five, one batch out of ten, etc... 1) focus on more complex and costly criteria (amino acids, minerals..) or undesirable substances (mycotoxins, heavy metals, ... ).
    Analyses related to the manufacturing process are also of paramount importance: for instance the tracer, which is designed to verify the homogeneity of the mixture or carry overs, enzymes, fats in the event of coating, pellet durability, particle size flour...

The stage of compilation and interpretation of results is of course essential. It is based either on statistical balance sheets or on compliance thresholds. Any persistent lag will result in corrective action or adjustments of standards and formulation values.This is a crucial and sensitive issue that cannot reliably be tackled without the participation and perspective of a professional. It is this very role which has been assumed by the TECHNA Group’s experts for over 50 years. Should you want more information, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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