Digital Re-print - July | August 2012

Nutritional impact of pellet binders

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Nutritional impact of pellet binders
by Thomas S. Winowiski, Technical Application Manager, LignoTech, USA
ellet binders are used primarily for their ability to improve pellet quality but they often contribute nutrients as well. For example, lignin sulfonate may contain metabolizable carbohydrate (AAFCO, Morrison) and ureaformaldehyde may be a source of slow-release nitrogen for ruminants (Gribbins). In contrast, wheat and whey are used primarily for their nutrient value but are also known to have a positive binding effect. The nutrient contribution of a binder should be recognised and included in the formulation, but the real reason for using these ingredients is because of the impact physical form of the pellet has on animal performance.


Fine segregation
Good pellet quality is necessary to prevent segregation of ingredients. The importance of uniform mixing is well documented (Table 1). Broilers fed poorly mixed feed with a CV of 40.5 percent had poorer performance than those fed adequately mixed
Table 1: Impact of poor mixing on 28 day growth assay Salt CV, % ADG, g Feed/Grain Mortality, % 40.5 23.6 1.82 12.0 12.1 30.0 1.72 0.0

feed with CV of 12.1 percent (McCoy). It stands to reason that unmixing could have a similar negative impact. Figure 1 shows how fines segregate when they are transferred. (In this case a small amount of carbon black was added to a corn/ soya mix prior to pelleting so that the pellets would contrast with the undarkened fines.) This occurs every time bulk pellets are dropped into a cooler, truck, or silo. Fines don’t roll as easily as pellets and stop in the first space they fall into. These fines typically contain higher levels of mineral and fat; mineral because pieces are likely to break out of the pellet and fat because it is more likely to be associated with poor binding. This is even more critical when fat is applied after the pellet press. When fines fill the spaces between pellets they may hinder flow. Figure 2 shows how fines remained in a silo allowing the pellets to flow out first. In this test a bulk truck unloaded two shipments of Turkey Grower pellets into similar farm silos. The feed was then removed and sacked off. Every tenth bag was screened to measure fines. Inclusion of a binder

Figure 2: Segregation of fines exiting a farm silo

Figure 3: Shift in pellet durability measured by two different methods

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Figure 1: Segregation that occurs when pellets containing 20 percent fines are transferred.


Table 2: Effect of process changes on pellet durability Production Factor Batch X1 DDGs 0 10% 0 10% 0 10% 0 10% X2 LS Binder 0 0 1% 1% 0 0 1% 1% X3 Temp, °C 79.1 78.8 79.0 77.7 82.8 85.2 91.7 91.3 Pellet Durability New Holmen 85.1 82.7 90.5 89.6 86.8 85.2 91.7 91.3 KSU Tumbler 92.0 90.9 94.1 93.8 92.3 92.2 94.8 94.5

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

reduced delivered fines from 21.3 percent to 9.7 percent and was a positive step toward reducing segregation (Winowiski).

Binding benefits
Quality pellets reduce segregation and increase productive energy. It has been clearly demonstrated that fast-growing birds fed pellets spend less time eating and more time resting (Skinner-Noble). Just like us, this behavior helps them to pack on the pounds. By reducing the energy required for prehension of their food they shift calories from maintenance to production. Broilers

fed good quality pellets have been shown to have significantly increased gain while those fed low durability pellets performed the same as those fed unpelleted diets (Lemme). Shifting 10 units of fines into pellets has been shown to increase the effective caloric value (ECV) of the feed by 18.7 kcal/kg (McKinney). This is simply the result of birds spending less of their energy eating. Suppose adding 0.5 percent pellet binder could cause a 10 unit shift in fines at the feeder. That would mean that 5 kg of binder effectively contributed 18,700 kcal per metric ton of feed; each kilo of binder therefore effectively contributed 3,740 kcal to the diet. Are pellet binders really that effective? That remains to be measured, and the type of segregation that is illustrated in Figure 2 makes it obvious that simply collecting a few samples might give a misleading result. Pellet durability testers can be useful for testing binders, as well as determining the impact of other factors such as adding distiller’s grains or increasing conditioning temperature. The Tumbling

Can method (Kansas State University) and the New Holmen method (Borregaard LignoTech) are both effective tools for measuring durability and predicting the amount of fines that will be delivered to the farm. Their ability to measure quality changes in a corn/ soya pellet was tested in a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial experiment (Winowiski). The changes were: adding 10 percent DDGS; adding one percent lignin sulfonate (LS Binder); and increasing conditioning temperature by 5ºC (Table 2 and Figure 3). Each of these changes was expected to cause a change in pellet durability. The point of this test was to measure the relative impact of each factor and the ability of the two methods to clearly show the response. There was good agreement between the two methods, but the effect on pellet quality was easier to observe with the New Holmen method. Most pellet binders can make some nutrient claims. However, the main reason for using a commercial binder is to secure the benefits associated with good pellet quality. The choice to use a particular product should be made first based on its binding performance. This is its purpose and this is where its real value lies. It should be possible to measure a binder’s performance directly at the feed plant by use of a pellet durability test. A positive response should then be confirmed with field samples. Only after a product has been selected based on its performance is it time to consider the nutrients it may contribute.

AAFCO - Association of American Feed Control Officials. 2010. Official Feed Definitions 87.2 Lignin Sulfonate and 87.19 Urea Formaldehyde Condensation Polymer. Gribbins, M. F. 1954. Ruminant Feed Composition. U.S. Patent No. 2,687,354. Lemme, A., P. J. A. Wijtten, J. van Wichen, A. Petri, and D. J. Langhout. 2006. Responses of male growing broilers to increasing levels of balanced protein offered as coarse mash or pellets of varying quality. Poultry Science 85:721-730. McCoy, R. A., K. C. Behnke, J. D. Hancock, and R. R. McEllhiney. 1994. Effect of mixing uniformity on broiler chick performance. Poultry Sci. 73:443-451. McKinney, L. J., and R. G. Teeter. 2004. Prediction effective caloric value of nonnutritive factors: I. Pellet quality and II. Prediction of Consequential Formulation Dead Zones. Poultry Science 83:1165-1174. Morrison, H. L., P. W. Waldroup, D. E. Green, and E. L. Stephenson. 1968. Determination of the Metabolizable Energy and Feeding Value of a Lignin Sulfonate Pellet Binder. Poultry Sci. 47:592-597. Skinner-Noble, D. O., L. J. McKinney, and R. G. Teeter. 2005. Predicting effective caloric value of nonnutritive factors: III. Feed form affects broiler performance by modifying behavior patterns. Poultry Science 84:403-411. Winowiski, Thomas. 1988. Wheat and pellet quality. Feed International, July, pp. 43-44. Winowiski, Thomas, and E. J. Bernal. 2011. Comparison of pellet durability methods. LignoTech USA, 29 September, 2011.

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Quality pellets make a difference
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Improve your pellet quality and pelleting efficiency with our high performance pellet binders and lubricating aids, suitable for all feeds! For more information about our pelleting aids and other feed additives, visit our website or contact us!

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