The purpose of a quality control plan is to provide confidence in what users are receiving and producing. The data received should be compiled regularly to update a central formulation matrix to ensure optimized feed production according to formulation and zootechnical needs.
Feed mills have to produce many different types of feed, often with many ingredients. Because each animal has different physiological and biological characteristics and accordingly, nutritional needs and feed requirements also change.
Can processing and blending different ingredients according to the needs of the animal, that is, preparing a good feed ration, be an important factor on the profitability and success of feed mills? The answer to this question is probably “yes”. Because for animal breeders, the production performance of the animal has a significant impact on profitability, and performance is largely related to nutrition, in other words, feed quality. It is only possible to carry out production in the targeted quality standards by making measurements and analyzing in a laboratory environment, and revising the production according to the results obtained.
“Quality control is essential in ensuring customer satisfaction” says Julien Guillory, Lab Analysis Development Manager for ADM’s Premix Business and adds: “The right quality control plan creates a guarantee that product specifications are respected and that feed delivered is safe.”
Mr. Guillory, who has significant experience and knowledge in the quality control process, answers the questions about the subject.
Mr. Guillory, what are quality control criteria in feed raw materials and finished product (feed)?
The most common parameters controlled in a feed mill are the nutritional components, such as moisture, ash, protein, fiber, fat and starch. These parameters are mainly used to check the variability of raw materials and validate the process for feed production.
How should an effective quality control plan be in a feed mill, what processes and analyzes should it include?
The quality control plan should include an analysis of the nutritional values for any formulation updates, in order to ensure cost optimization and that regulatory requirements are met. Additional parameters like protein digestibility, cross-contamination and homogeneity are used to master the production processes and make sure the different compounds are evenly distributed in the final feed. The quality control plan may also need to take into account local considerations and specifications from customers, like non-GMO and the organic market. These requirements should be integrated with the list of analysis requirements for the plant.
So, how the analysis of raw materials, additives and mixtures used in feed ration should be made?
The traditional method is to perform analysis in an internal wet chemistry laboratory, which helps to ensure the best reactivity and knowledge in feed analysis. The lab performance must be verified first, to ensure the quality and reliability of the results. An alternative method is to use Near Infra-Red (NIR) technology with a NIR spectrometer. Reliable and robust calibrations should be validated on the feed mill products.
What are the elements and risks affecting feed quality?
Risks affecting feed quality may include undesirable substances like mycotoxins, pathogens, heavy metals and dioxine. A good quality control plan should have parameters in place to account for these risks, and thereby help to ensure safe and high-quality products.
Why is quality control important in feed production? What are the benefits of having the right quality control plan?
Quality control is essential in ensuring customer satisfaction. The right quality control plan creates a guarantee that product specifications are respected and that feed delivered is safe. The benefits of using an adapted control plan to quantify and control the input and output quality are in ensuring product conformity at the most optimal formulation.
What are the technologies used for quality control in feed production? What are technologies primarily required in a quality control laboratory?
Most internal laboratories are equipped to perform traditional proximate analysis, which requires certain pieces of equipment, such as a grinder, oven, balances, distiller and extractors. Some laboratories are also equipped with analytical instruments like NIR or halogen desiccators. Any techniques performed using this equipment should also be done by lab technicians.
What is the place and importance of NIR technology in feed quality control process?
When properly calibrated and monitored, NIR technology allows for very quick and reliable control over the raw materials and finished products. It takes less than a minute to align the nutrient parameters for a number of different samples, and this technology helps to avoid grinding samples before analysis. NIR instruments can be positioned at reception or in the lab for controlling raw materials, or even in the process line for real-time monitoring of the feed process.
What kinds of advantages do raw material quality monitoring systems offer for users in quality control process?
The purpose of a quality control plan is to provide confidence in what users are receiving and producing. The data received should be compiled regularly to update a central formulation matrix to ensure optimized feed production according to formulation and zoo technical needs.
About Julien Guillory
Julien Guillory is the Lab Analysis Development Manager for ADM’s Premix Business, Wisium. In this role, he drives the development of ADM’s analysis offering through Wisium to help address the premix and specialty needs of its international customers. He also has quality assurance experience in agro-food analysis, as well as in lab operations management for animal nutrition customers.
He received a degree in Chemistry and Biology from the Université de Nantes, in France.