5 commentslast update:6 Aug 2012

My name is John D. – I am a feed-designer

When we are looking at the development of the food-industry, the challenge is to develop new products that please the consumer (and the profit margin of the retailer). You can ask yourself what should be the effect of this for the complete chain?

When we are looking at the development of the food-industry, the challenge is to develop new products that please the consumer (and the profit margin of the retailer). You can ask yourself what should be the effect of this for the complete chain?
Food design
When we take a closer look at food design, we see that these men and women are young artists, who are doing strange things with food, with no respect for history or tradition. They only concentrate on taste and the way the product is satisfying the consumer. This way of thinking is not only a change for agrculture but also pose a challenge.
Examples are sometimes crazy; for instance fried red cabbage, smoothies made from a mixture of all types of fruit and vegetables, energy drinks from pressed wheatgrass, etc. Not only new products are developed but also new ingredients and new technology – food-design starting at the basics.
Standard feed
But let us take this idea into the feedmill. Here we produce optimum feed for the animals; optimized on costs, energy content, health of the animal etc. In general a few types of feed are produced for a big group of customers. But we also see that more and more large farmers have their own demands and specify their own feed. Relevant in this is the discussion that Emmy started in her blog on garlic. What can this new ingredient mean for the feed-industry?


From factory to kitchen
This is not only a challenge for the system-integrators to control such a mill, but also for the machinery manufacturers. "Do we have all the equipment we need?" "Are there new machines we do not now yet about?"
In the mean time this development is also asks for other changes. It requires a new kind of employee in the feedmill: a feed-designer – someone creative in using the equipment and ingredients, to develop new feed products. Not only in regard to the needs of energy and health of the animals, but also looking for new opportunities in the complete feed to food chain. It is a cliché but it requires feed-designers who can think "out of the box".
Daily practice?
Writing this blog made me realise I was already doing this for some years. Every time my daughters did not feed their rabbit I told them that I would give it herbs to make "Sate Rabbit". Maybe this is an idea the first feed designer can work out. Compose chicken feed for better "Sate Ajam".

If we take a closer look at this development we see that this should have consequences for the feedmills-of-the-future. The Magi-con feedmill at Saweco, Oirlo, The Netherlands, is basically already constructed as a kitchen. The engineers did not design a mill for the production of one type of feed, but developed one where you can "cook" feed to the demanded specifications of the market.


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    Rod Tuck

    The problem about in mill feed designers, is that it is difficult for them to think out of their mill box, because the feeds they design have to be manufactured from their existing plants.
    For example feeding the piglet as far as the in house feed designer is concerned is that it has to be in pellet form because that is what the mills are designed to produce.
    Personally I think the feed designer has to start at the point where the pig eats and work backwards from there.
    why? Well we have proved that by using a tranisition feeder that feeds a wet gruel feed to the pigs for the first 14 days after weaning you can save 14 days to 90kg dead, that saves a lot of feed per pig/unit and markedly increases building utirlisation .
    The difficulty is changing the pig keepers and the feed suppliers thinking to feed a pig another wayother than pellets. Rod Tuck, Tuckbox Ltd. Director

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    Mike Spandern

    My name is Mike S. I'm a feed designer. You hit the nail on the head. It is not just the pet food and equine feeds industry that goes this route. Novel feed designs offcourse are not about fancy names and herbs but more about QC, traceability, safety, consistency, communication, ethical guidelines, environmetntal issues, price and also availability.

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    Suhendar Singh Chabbra, India

    In my openion,with genetic improvement & hybrid culture,the productivity has definitly improved many folds. Costly equipments reqiured for partially synthetic feed processing & desighning are some what affecting the nutritive value of ingredients which in natural form and shape are more palatable and acceptable to animal species.We therefore, also need to keep this factor in mind while desighinig the feed.

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    Braam Koekemoer

    Is there a material difference between the algorithms used by the big 5 formulation systems in the world?

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    The problem meets feed disigner is a high price of raw material, how could we make a good feed to our animal if the price higher and higher. Its easy to design but to get more profit..?

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