Agricon: How the pelletizing of livestock feeds can save (and make) you money
South African based Agricon Pelleting is a worldwide supplier of pelletizing machinery and feed handling equipment for Agri–processing and factories. Agricon was established in 1993 and serves various customers in the animal feed market and the organic material market for fertilizers, composts and other value-added products.
Pelletizing, involving the compaction of materials into small dry pellets, is a common practice in animal feed processing. This process is used globally by manufacturers of animal feed or fertilizer facilities that specialise in the processing materials for reuse.
Since 2008 the African continent has emerged as Agricon’s largest export market, with countries like Malawi showing strong business growth potential. Agricon has also managed to reach new markets by adapting equipment to pelletize a range of specific products, such as rooibos tea, tobacco dust, organic fertilizers and compost.
In addition to the manufacturing of machines and equipment, the company also provides training and on-site installation for clients, as well as support following a sale or the provision of spare parts.
One of Agricon’s most recent innovative products is the Agri 10 – a single-phase machine with a pelletizing capacity of 60 – 80 kg/hour for the entry-level producer. It was developed for the African market that does not require 3 phase electricity.
The benefits of Pelleting:
- Improved animal performance. Higher energy intake levels occur while animals spend less energy to graze.
- Pelleted feed promotes animal growth due to better feed conversion rates, in other words, better utilization of the nutrient value of the feed.
- Due to the heat generated in the pelleting process, it improves the uptake of protein in the rumen of ruminants (thus a higher bypass protein), thereby increases amino acid availability and increases animal performance
- Pelleting reduces wastage with up to 30% versus loose feeds, due to poor and selective eating habits
- Pelleting will eliminate dust that will increase the palatability or taste of the feed
- No wind loss occurs on pellets
- Better mixing of raw materials takes place; therefore no selective feeding will take place.
- The ration is less bulky and therefore reduces storage space requirements and allows for easier transportation and handling
Which farmer are you? The one who wastes more than 30% of his expensive feed or the one feeding pellets with a 14.2% higher digestibility and no wastage?
The savings is not only based on the fact that the middleman is eliminated, but also because the farmer has control over his formulations. In this way, the farmer can add value to poorer quality feeds and thereby reducing cost without compromising overall quality.
How does pelleting work?
It is very important to control the feed rate of a pelletizer otherwise the machine will constantly over- or underperform, resulting in blockages or poor production capacity. The workmanship is also very important because the machine works under huge pressure with consequent vibration, therefore the body must be durable and strong.
It takes feeds 20 seconds to go through the machine. Naturally dried feeds (about 10-12% moisture) need a little more moisture (13-15%) to activate the pellet binding process. Binding happens under extreme pressure as the pellets are pressed through the holes at a temperature of 60-90°C. The heat is simply caused by pressure and friction produced by a well-designed machine. Poorly designed machines will not reach sufficiently high temperatures, therefore needing binding agents like molasses. The pellets are then cooled by various mechanical and non-mechanical methods.
Several misconceptions prevail about pelletizing because of the historical use of pelletizers. The greatest evil is the inclusion of high percentages of molasses to bind the pellets. The heat will caramelize the sugars with the result that the holes become sticky and clogged. Water should, therefore, be the only activator and the pelleting machine’s compression ratio must be adjusted for the different types of feed.
For more information or to request a quote, contact Riana Nel at: