1. The History of Animal Feed Pelleting
For centuries people allowed their pigs and chickens to forage and occasionally tossed them some food scraps. The industrial revolution changed that.
Farmers now needed horsepower. Horses that supplied power needed high energy feeds. Horses that provided transportation needed feeding stations along the way. Horses that went to war had to carry their feed with them.
The British developed the first compound feed as transportable nourishment for war horses. The feed, resembling a large baked biscuit, was a combination of meal from oat, peas, rye, flax, wheat or maize. According to feeding experiments done by the Prussian army, 1.5 kg (3 3/8 lb) of this compound horse feed could substitute for 5 kg (11 pounds) of oats.
Concentration of food processing, particularly large flour mills, created a new environmental problem: These mills (conveniently built close to water) began dumping waste into rivers and streams.
As tonnes of wheat midds fouled the waters, the government intervened and prohibited dumping by law. The midds had nutritional value for animals but did not flow well, had low bulk density, dusty texture and, therefore, were not pleasant to eat. Whey generated by cheese production, and meat and bone meal from the packing plants were equally problematic.
In 1928, the needs for efficient animal feeds, and use of industrial food wastes were both brilliantly satisfied when Purina began pelleting flour mill waste. Wheat midds were mixed with animal by-products or soya cake, plus ground corn and minerals, and compressed into convenient pellets. The obvious advantages were:
- Less dust
- Increased bulk density
- Improved flowability
- Improved palatability
- Reduced feed wastage
- Increased consumption rate
- Less energy expended in consumption
- Dense minerals did not segregate out