Evonik adapts analytical NIR services to include unground raw feed materials
Knowing the composition of raw feed materials is essential for the operators of feed mills and that it is the only way to produce feed mixtures according to specification, to ensure optimum animal performance. Nutrient content of raw materials can vary considerably, depending on variety, climatic conditions, soil quality, storage and processing.
Frequently, raw feed materials are only analyzed for moisture and raw protein content or foreign matter at the time of delivery. Now the amino acid and macro-nutrient content of samples can now be analyzed quickly, straight from the delivery truck, cutting out the time-consuming grinding step, said the company.
The results can then be compared to NIR calibrations of more than 60 raw materials on its new supporting site; this allows different batches to be stored according to their quality, it added.
‘Major technical improvement’
Dr Ingolf Reimann, head of analytical services, animal nutrition, at Evonik, told us:
“The development of a technology enabling accurate measurement of amino acids in unground materials is a major technical improvement and the basis of this new service. In the past, grinding was required for accurate amino acid analysis previous to any NIR measurement. This step was regarded as of utmost importance in terms of prediction accuracy but it also was considered as the most difficult step in the daily operation at feed mill level in terms of quality control of incoming feed ingredients.”
In terms of the level of competence required by a user, he said that no particular knowledge in the field of chemical analysis is required. “Nevertheless, basic computer knowledge is mandatory, as the service is IT based. In practice, an operator collects samples and performs a measurement on the NIR device. Within a few minutes analytical information is available.”
He said Evonik is offering different analytical NIR service options according to the needs of customers. “This ranges from customized service levels to commercial conditions.”
Evonik has developed its own in-house competence in the field of NIR technology, said Reimann. “The first project started more than 30 years ago offering the very first amino acid calibration for major feed ingredients as a service to our customers. It has been expanded by adding new ingredients, new parameters, new NIR devices and several features. Now we have introduced the prediction of amino acids, proximate parameters and energy in unground samples as our latest service offer.”
Its AminoNIR service as is installed on around 900 NIR devices worldwide, he added.
Evonik said it also recently published updates of all NIR calibrations. More than 60 raw materials and feed mixtures are available including alfalfa meal, which is used in poultry and dairy cow feed.