Process Management

News last update:6 Aug 2012

Extruded feed makes piglets grow faster

Originally designed as a system for injecting liquids into pellets, the Pegasus vacuum coater from Dinnissen has developed into a sophisticated technology for producing pellets and extruded products. Recent studies showed that the use of expanded pig feed to which vitamins and enzymes were added with the Pegasus vacuum coater (VC) resulted in a 4% improvement in feed conversion and a 4.4% better growth rate of piglets.

A Dutch feed manufacturer cooperated with Dinnissen Process Technology, also based in The Netherlands, to improve the results obtained from various pig feeds using the Pegasus VC. This application is rather unique and has never been used before in the production process for pig feed. The challenge was to improve digestibility of expanded feed and to add vitamins and enzymes as accurately as possible after the expansion process to ensure their full activity. Vitamins and enzymes were injected into the core of the pellet and the pellets were then coated with a thin protective layer to improve pellet quality and minimise abrasion during transport.

Piglet study
A study with 500 piglets at three different farms was carried out with piglet feed which had been upgraded via the Pegasus VC. During and after the trials feed conversion (FCR), average daily growth, pig health & uniformity, feed intake and consistency of the faeces were calculated or measured. Piglets started the trial at an average weight of 7 to 8 kg and were fed weanling feed for five days followed by the new expanded feed for three weeks. A control group received regular feed without the expanding and vacuum coating treatment.

Improved growth

Results showed that there were no differences in feed intake, but that the pigs fed the new feed expressed better growth, had less diarrhoea problems, and needed less medication. This was due to a better utilisation of vitamins and enzymes. There was less feed waste and faeces showed a firmer consistency. The pig farmers noted that the trial group had a healthier colour and more hair than the control group.
The final conclusion that could be drawn from the study was that piglets fed the new type of feed, produced with expander and Pegasus VC, showed a 4% improvement in feed conversion and a 4.4% improvement in growth.

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