Spoilage of feed during storage adversely affects the health and performance of livestock, and may also compromise the feed manufacturer’s reputation. This constant challenge is an invisible phenomenon caused by a series of microbial and chemical degradation processes that occur in both the feed ingredients and the feed itself.
A nutritionally formulated livestock feed balances energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and moisture. A balanced set of such nutrients is a feast for the omnipresent microbial (e.g., mold, bacteria, etc.) and chemical (e.g., auto-oxidation) degradation mechanisms. In addition, amongst the inherent set of nutrients, moisture determines the stability of the feed or feed ingredients.
Moisture, regarded as the primary input for degradation mechanisms, is well protected when feed ingredients are intact. However, the grinding/milling process often releases moisture to be free and easily available for mold growth and oxidative changes. Aided by the other nutrients, these degradation mechanisms potentiate each other through a liberal exchange of the end products of degradation. Once set, these degradation changes aggressively diminish the nutritive and shelf life profile of the feed or feed ingredients.
As such, it is imperative that a high quality feed be sufficiently protected from the degradation mechanisms, such as molds, bacteria, and oxidation, and their metabolic end products.