FOOD AID OR TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER? WHICH OPTION IS MORE LOGICAL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST GLOBAL HUNGER?

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An article by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A new development of fully cooked instant Corn Soy Blend (CSB) by an Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Scientist was reported.

The justification for this instant cooked CSB is to address the concerns of off-flavors, shelf life and uneven nutrient distribution in CSB.

The ARS scientist used a twin screw extruder to achieve the objectives. It is obvious to those who are familiar with the cost of such an extruder that the intent here is to promote manufacturing the CSB in the U.S. and not in the region where the CSB is needed.

What is CSB?
CSB is a product that was developed about 50 years ago by Agriculture Research Service (ARS) scientists as a partially cooked blend of corn and raw soy. The CSB is then fortified with vitamins and trace minerals. Other Fortified Blended Foods (FBF) were also developed using different combinations of grains and pulses in the same manner. The justification of partially cooked CSB is that a further cooking in water will take place as gruel is being constituted.

Handout or technology transfer?
The United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP), non-government organizations (NGO’s) and faith based organizations have promoted the idea of in-region processing of CSB and not to totally depend on charity from abroad to provide the product.

Extrusion and in particular, extruders have been used as one of the major methods of processing CSB or FBF in the region where the product is needed.

The technology and know-how were provided to the local processors in many countries where hunger and starvation are prevalent, thus:

Employing people
Reducing their dependence on food from abroad
Capitalizing on the local ingredients and resources
On the other hand, CSB is being provided for many poor countries through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) along with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through Food for Peace Act. This option may help in the immediate need during a crises resulting from conflicts or droughts but, in the long run, it should not be a standard policy in fighting hunger.

Some advocates for fighting world hunger may argue the fact that the U.S. food aid policies may perpetuate poverty. Providing CSB manufactured in the United States and shipped by U.S. firms to be distributed to the starving and hungry people in developing and under-developed countries does not provide incentives for their independence.

Food aid policies may not advance the food security for them and may not help the indigenous people in developing their resources to meet their needs.

The ideal system is to provide an affordable technology to manufacture the CSB or other FBF locally, thus:

Employing more people
Reducing the cost
Utilizing local ingredients as much as possible
Avoiding the dependence on foreign aid
Providing U.S. aid in the form of food to countries, including those that are not politically stable, may not assure delivery of the food to the starving and needy people.

SUCCESS = EXPANSION POSSIBILITIES

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In the extrusion business, luck does not determine success. The quality of the products you produce and sell is what dictates your future. It has been said that quality is equal to superiority and most of our clients can attest to that statement. They have seen the benefits of producing a higher caliber product and understand that a high quality product is made from high quality machine. That is why they have continued to choose Quadro Alloys extruders over the rest.

In the Philippines, a businessman is selling 100% extruded full fat soybeans (EFFSB) to pig and poultry farms. Farmers chose to buy products processed by exrusion over their competitors because of quality. They have proven to their customers that properly processed EFFSB is:

an excellent source of fat & energy
an excellent source of digestible protein & amino acids
highly palatable for better feed efficiency
an excellent source of choline
a longer lasting product due to the presence of natural Tocopherols
a high quality polyunsaturated fat (linoleic acid)
All of these benefits have made all the difference for them. Comparison and competition are always present, especially when selling feed and food products, which is why manufactures must find a way to set themselves apart to keep their business alive. Selling a higher quality product to a market who’s willing to pay the higher price can be an effective way to do this.

Regardless of how they make themselves stand out, successful company owners will continue to find ways to differentiate and expand their business. Purchasing quality equipment by itself is not enough to assure producing high quality superior extruded whole soybeans. It is the optimization of the process that involves our recommendations and input.

Expansion and growth are always in the mind of customers because growth is the key to keeping a business profitable. In SE Asia, many successful businessmen believe that additional investment will soon convert to a successful outcome as long as you produce quality products.

RUSSIAN SOYBEAN MARKET ON THE RISE

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For the last ten years soy production in Russia has increased from 554 thousand tons in 2004 to 2.6 million tons in 2014. Still, Russia is not self-sufficient in this crop. In 2014, Russia imported 2 million tons of soybeans mainly from Brazil and Uruguay. By 2020 it is estimated that Russia will produce up to 7 million tons of soybeans.

Currently, 95% of soybeans grown in Russia are used for animal feeds and only 5% are used for food purposes to make soy milk products, meat substitutes and meat extenders. There are plans in Russia to increase production of soy meat and milk products such as soy isolates, soy concentrates, textured soy proteins, soy milk and so on.

The main driver for increased soy consumption in Russia is the rapidly growing poultry industry, swine production and aquaculture. According to local statistics agency overall meat production in January-September of 2015 compared to same time period last year has increased by 14.2%.

Until recently, local companies from the Far East of Russia have been the major players in soybean production market. However, the situation is changing as large agro holding companies in this country are entering this risky but lucrative market. This is risky because of climatic conditions in different parts of the country, but at the same time lucrative due to high ROI. We are seeing that more and more soybeans are grown in Central parts of Russia such as Belgorod, Brynsk and Kursk regions. Southern Russia is also increasing the soy production in regions like Krasnodar and Stavropol.

Most of the soy processed in Russia uses conventional solvent chemical technology. Customers in Russia process soy for their own use but there also a few that are successfully processing beans for commercial purposes and this number is constantly growing. The main reason businesses are investing in extrusion technology is the high quality end product, durability and reliability of equipment, proven technology and quality control. One of the most important factors is also a chemical free process as consumers all over the world are becoming more sensitive to what they eat. Therefore, food companies are looking for alternatives to solvent technology.

As of today, one of the major meat producers and food processors in Russia is using extrusion for processing soybeans which is fed to poultry and animal husbandry. We are seeing this trend to be on the rise worldwide where key players in different meat production segments are using mechanical technology to process soy.

SAFETY WHEN WORKING ON EXTRUDERS

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Safety is often overlooked, but it is one of, if not the most important, responsibilities of the workplace. Large machinery is very heavy and consists of moving parts that can lead to serious injuries, if safety is not taken seriously.

Before working on an extruder, always lock out or tag out the panel to cut off all power to the machine and other auxiliary equipment. This is done to avoid the extruder from unexpectedly turning on. Also, be careful when handling parts because they can be very heavy. Depending on what style of extruder you have, chambers can weigh up to 85LBS a piece.

Even after the power is cut off from the extruder, you must remain cautious because pressure and high temperatures are still present. To minimize the pressure and temperature of the extruder, clear out all of the product that is still in the chambers, when possible. This can be done by shutting off the feeder and letting the extruder run for about a half minute with no feed going in.

By running the extruder without feed, it will help clear out most of the product that is still inside and some of the pressure. This doesn’t necessarily release all of the pressure, so, it helps to also open up the nose cone about two turns while the extruder is still running, to help clear out as much pressure as possible. Once that is complete, turn the extruder completely off, and put some high temperature gloves on (leather and/or welding gloves work great) and wait for the extruder to come to a complete stop.

To continue, remember to never stand in front of the nose cap when you perform a shut-down. Taking the nose cap off is a vital concern as there still may be pressure behind it. Instead, remove the clamp bolts about halfway, and while grabbing both sides of the clamps, try to move them back and forth. If they move easily, that’s usually a good indicator that there is not much pressure left in the machine, but not a guarantee. To finish off, still standing off to the side, remove the clamp bolts completely and take the bottom clamp off.

These are just some of the most important aspects of safety when servicing or shutting down an extruder, but every situation and person is different.

EXCESSIVE PROTEIN FORMULATIONS – COUNTERPRODUCTIVE AND INCREASE POLLUTION

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A recent Feed Management article highlighted the problems of including excess protein in broiler diets. Providing more protein than the required amount in feed has become a common practice that producers and nutritionists believe maintains costs low, but, actually, increases them, since this results in reduced broiler productivity and health.

Even though it’s overwhelmingly clear that broilers, and all animals, require amino acids (not protein), providing “safety margins” in many commercial formulas is still common. Often, nutritionists and producers formulate more than the required amount because of concerns with increasing days to market – adding a few more days before you ship the birds and clean out the barns means that fewer total birds each year will be marketed.

On the surface, it’s not illogical to think this way because differences in amino acid digestibility among and between ingredients exist and can hinder performance when the digestible supply of amino acids is reduced for some reason. In addition, changes in production practices, such as the reduction or elimination of antibiotics, are adding uncertainty to broiler performance. So, ultimately, it seems to make sense to put some extra protein (amino acids) in a formulation.

However, there are three main problems with this line of thinking. First, there is no way to store excess amino acids and getting rid of them truly represents a cost to the bird. Nitrogen in protein goes through an elimination process and must be excreted, costing energy. Energy, in absolute terms, is the most expensive portion of a diet, so overfeeding protein could, in fact, reduce the energy available for productive growth and increase your days to market, too.

Second, some excess protein passes though the digestive tract to the hindgut where it is fermented. Fermentation of proteins favors pathogenic bacteria that can cause disease outbreaks in the flock and combining this with reducing or eliminating antibiotics could spell trouble.

Third, incorporating excess protein results in increased water consumption by the birds. The article notes that for every 1 percent of excess dietary protein consumed, water intake increases by about 3 percent. Not only does this increase resource use for millions of birds, but will also result in “wet litter”, which has significant animal welfare effects.

Finally, like energy, protein is expensive and should be included only where cost-benefit analysis (i.e., more lysine equals more growth) indicates. In addition, as I’ve written about before, excessive nutrients in feed can be externalized into the surrounding environment. This can result in the water becoming contaminated with nitrogen from excessive dietary protein and leaving the farm, affecting others and resulting in conflict.

Overall, strategies that keep more amino acids in the animal will be good for both the bottom line and the environment. Using high-quality, highly-digestible amino acid sources, such as properly-processed extruded soy meal, will help accomplish this. In addition, lower-protein diets containing synthetic amino acids, like L-lysine, will be able to maintain performance with less protein. When utilizing the extrusion process to produce feed, the risk of feeding excess protein along with the chances of externalizing any chemicals into the environment can be reduced.

COST CUTTING MEASURES CAN BE COSTLY TO YOUR BUSINESS

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Management of costs is critical for every business, it is important to identify the areas where cost cutting is done responsibly and without adverse impact to the overall success of the business. Below is an example of where a decision was made to cut costs that resulted in a negative impact to the profit of the business.

At a customer who is using extrusion technology for processing soybeans, the General Manager complained that their oil presses were operating inefficiently and leaving 10% residual oil in the soy press cake compared to previous residual oil level of 7.5%. When questioning the head engineer as to what he believed was the explanation for higher residual oil, he shared it was due to the decision by management to reduce costs by not replacing the oil press parts that wore out.

In an effort to analyze the impact of this decision, a follow up with the General Manager to share prices their company receives for selling extruded soy meal and soy oil. From this the loss was calculated in oil revenue by leaving 2.5% more oil in the meal (10%-7.5%). The effect was the customer was selling oil left in the meal at meal price instead of at much higher value as soy oil. This resulted in a loss of revenue of R105.10 for every ton of soybeans processed, all in an attempt to save approximately R10 per ton in wearing parts for the press. If left uncorrected this decision would have resulted in an annual loss of revenue of R1 526 636. Thus, the intended cost savings actions actually resulted in significant negative impact.

Our team provide recommendations to our customers to ensure they operate their business and equipment to produce extruded products efficiently while maintaining the highest quality and performance. Our team is available to provide onsite evaluations to identify ways to help you effectively cut costs while maximizing profitability.

THE EFFECTS OF EXTRUSION ON HEAT SENSITIVE INGREDIENTS

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When it comes to extruding complete diets such as pet food, fish feed or something like pig starters that have multiple ingredients, close attention should be given to how ingredients react to the extrusion process. Certain ingredients can be adversely affected by heat and pressure generated during extrusion. In this blog, I’m going to go over a few examples to give you an idea of what can happen to ingredients and ways to remedy or minimize the effects.

The most important ingredients that can be affected by extrusion are vitamins. Vitamins can be somewhat fragile with short shelf life even without being subjected to extrusion. One example is Vitamin C, which is especially sensitive to heat. The loss experienced during extrusion can be overcome by formulating 25% over the normal dosage. Another option is to use what is known as protected vitamin C. There are several on the market that work well with extrusion. Protected vitamin C was originally designed for use in pellet mills because it has a protective coating that lessens the adverse effects of heat and pressure. Another way to prevent affecting the quality of your vitamins, in some cases, can be by adding them in post-extrusion with a mixer or sprayed on. In other cases, like shaped products, they need to be suspended in the pre-extruded mix. It’s usually best to consult with the company that manufactures your vitamins with concerns associated with your process because they can provide information about vitamin stability as it relates to your needs.

Another example of ingredients that do not tolerate extrusion heat and pressure are probiotics. As probiotics are live bacteria, they do not survive the extrusion process. Post application is the only way to include probiotics in your finished product without negatively affecting its quality. Often the probiotic is suspended in a liquid or possibly a vegetable oil and sprayed on – similar to post application of fat to pet foods.

When it comes to including a variety of ingredients into your formulation, you must not only take into consideration their sensitivity to heat and pressure but also how that can affect the quality of your end product.

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF AFRICAN FOOD PROCESSORS

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Much of the food that we eat has been processed by small & medium enterprises, often family-owned. It is no different in Africa. The food giants are present, but most food companies are family affairs.

Finding finance to expand production or to launch a new product is exceptionally hard in Africa. There are many obstacles in the process such as the following:

Logistics
Bad roads, heavy traffic, inexistent or dysfunctional rail systems, snail’s pace customs procedures, inadequate computer systems, theft, etc.

Seeds
Food starts with seeds including vegetable, fruit and crop seeds. Many African countries have no seed banks, and very few seed scientists or properly-funded research facilities that as a result, yields are low and quality can be poor. This makes it cheaper to import crops like maize from South America instead of buying from the country next door.

Standards & Regulations
Food trade is based on agreed standards, such as governmental standards, international standards like ISO and increasingly, retailer (supermarket chain) private standards. Many African food companies lack knowledge, laboratory equipment and staff to be able to adhere to buyers’ standards, so they are excluded from lucrative regional or international markets.

Skills
A blend of on-the-job practical training and formal classroom learning is considered the best preparation for future food industry executives. Many African food processors have no formal trainee development program and they do little to encourage their workers to develop their skills.

Mergers and acquisitions in Africa fell almost 30% in 2016. Private equity funds are all hunting for deals and are now starting to focus on family-owned businesses with succession problems – the founders are retiring and their children have gone abroad, for example. Sometimes, the children are taking over and want to expand the business quickly.

The favorite targets for private funding are consumer goods, real estate, financial services, energy and infrastructure. Agribusiness and food industry deals do happen from time to time, but for most food companies, finance means a bank loan at punishing interest, if you can provide the collateral.

Partnerships between local and foreign companies, which we are beginning to see in the animal feed and aquaculture sectors, offer a way out of this ‘Catch-22’ situation. The local company knows the territory and customer preferences, while the foreign partner can inject skills, capital and managerial discipline.

Food companies in Africa need to devote more time to building their value-chains, building a strategic vision and developing and rewarding their staff. Finding financing options in Africa can be a challenge, but with the help of a great partner, you can find resources together to allow your business to grow.

ARE SPECIALTY BY-PASS PROTEIN PRODUCTS OVER HYPED?

duncan-by-pass-blog-image-940x626Since the middle 1980’s the dairy industry has been sold a variety of soy products including hydrolyzed feathers, distiller’s grains and blood meal to optimize production of high producing cows. The theory by the makers of by-pass protein was that since solvent soybean meal had only 36% by-pass protein (protein that would not be utilized in the rumen), their product(s) would be rumen protected and digested in the small intestine.

These products, with by-pass protein values from 60% to over 70%, saw results that validated the manufacturers’ claims. These by-pass proteins were being fed from 1-5 lbs. per cow per day.

Total emphasis was placed on the products’ ability to by-pass the rumen, but total digestibility in the intestine was not known. Most of the by-pass products commanded premium pricing and this special by-pass protein industry has grown for the past 30 years. Some of these “hyped” products are deficient with rumen degradable protein. That degradable protein is critical for proper rumen function.

From the late 20th century and up to current times, the ethanol industry with their by-product of distiller’s grains has offered their product with high by-pass (74%). Considered a low-cost ingredient the ethanol distillers have provided an ingredient with corn-based amino acid profiles. This factor would limit feeding of distillers due to the commonly high levels of corn already being fed. Some of the challenges for the distillers are the variability of quality from a variety of sources.

Over the past 25 years, there has been naturally processed (hexane-free) soybean meal, that can provide highly digestible protein, a moderate level of by-pass protein (49.5%-52%) and a total tract digestibility of 94%. Extruded soybeans, followed by mechanical oil extraction can easily replace higher priced specialty by-pass proteins, soybean meal (solvent, hexane-processed), distiller’s grains and roasted products. In addition, the use of partially defatted extruded/expelled soybean meal can simplify dairy TMR mixes. This type of ingredient can be fed up to 8-9 lbs. per cow while eliminating many or all of these specialty protein products. In addition, it is not uncommon to see 3-5 lbs. milk/cow increases, milk fat and protein content also increases; all while lowering the total feed costs of $0.15-$0.20 per cow per day.

It appears that a number of the high by-pass products may be overpriced and over-hyped! Dairy producers could benefit financially from trying Soy Meal!!

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