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Insta-Pro Blog


Is it Time to Rebuild Your Equipment?

Posted on: October 23, 2014 Author:


We have all done it.  We know our equipment will need new parts soon but you put off ordering them until your machine breaks down and you really need them.  When that happens, you make a quick call to the parts department to order new worn out parts and calculate the losses you will accrue from non-operational production line.

With Fall in full swing, that means harvest is underway and a lot of processors are getting busy.  Just like farmers, this is Insta-Pro’s busiest time of the year as growers will avoid storage costs and deliver direct to the processors.

Through proper maintenance and service, a processor can insure their equipment stays running at peak performance; avoiding a breakdown.  The typical parts customers request are: extruder screws, steamlocks, chambers, nose bullet, nose cone, press screws and cage parts. We make it a priority to ship parts the same day overnight so our customer is not down for more than 24 hours, however, with the high cost of freight, the freight charges can cost more than the parts.

We strongly advise our customers to keep a full set of external barrel part and internal barrel parts on hand. The top parts we consider ordering in advance are the inlet screws and inlet chamber; these are the parts that feed the extruder and are subject to the most wear. It is recommended you check them every 1,000 hours and rotate/ replace screws as needed.  Processors should also check inlet chamber riffling for wear and weld to manual spec or replace as needed.

In the fall Insta Pro usually sees a large increase in orders and lead times can increase. We do everything possible to ship parts order within a few days but at times it’s just not possible. Currently,  orders are being filled the same day unless the parts are a none stock item.

To avoid costly overnight shipping charges after an unforeseen break down now is the time to think about stocking parts for inventory and rebuilding your equipment.  You can place your order by contacting Jim Little +1.515.265.1277 or 800-798-0951

Should You Supply Dietary Energy as Oil or Carbohydrates?

Posted on: October 16, 2014 Author:

carb vs fats


The importance of dietary energy in formulating cost-effective, high-performing diets is a topic I have covered in the past.  Nutritionists usually have some ingredient options in order to get the most performance, with economy in mind, out of production animals.  The overall goal is always the same – supply just enough total calories in the diet to maximize some response (growth, production of meat, milk, eggs, etc.), but not more, in order to maximize efficiency.

Energy is typically supplied as carbohydrates – usually starch from cereal grains, like corn – and as fats and oils, such as vegetable oil (like soybean oil).  The economics of the ingredient choices, and that fact that fats and oils have, on average, 2.25 times the energy of carbohydrates, dictate what ultimately comprises a complete diet.

On the surface, supplying the desired level of calories in a complete diet is all that matters.  Where the calories come from – carbohydrates vs. fats – is often considered irrelevant.  However, the findings of a recent study show that this is not so simple.  Interestingly, the authors downplay their own findings, but as I outline here, I don’t necessarily agree.

The authors located a single, homogenous source of corn, and ground it to 4 different particle sizes.  They then determined that, as particle size decreased (became finer), metabolizable energy for swine increased.  Simply put, the pigs were able to extract a little more energy (121 kilocalories/kg for the particle sizes used in this study) from the corn as it was more finely ground.  This finding was expected.

The authors then formulated commercial diets with equal total energy using the corn with different particle sizes, and adding soybean oil to the diets with larger corn particle sizes to maintain the same energy content.  Since the larger-particle-sized corn diets were determined to have less metabolizable energy, the soy oil made up the difference.  So, we have a situation here where the total dietary energy supplied to the pigs was equal, but the calories came from different amounts of carbohydrates and fats (soy oil, in this case).  So, how did the pigs perform?

graph 1

I only show statistically significant data here, but others followed this trend – increasing the energy from soy oil reduced average daily feed intake in the pigs.  This could be alarming except when you look at the feed efficiency (pig weight gain relative to feed intake) data.

graph 2

Feed efficiency was significantly enhanced with the inclusion of more energy as soy oil.  Remember, conventional wisdom says that that you simply need to supply adequate calories.

What is demonstrated here is why it’s so important to evaluate animal data, and not only information from the lab (which is also important).  Fats and oils cause effects in the intestine that enhance nutrient digestibility, even as the flows of nutrients through the intestine are fairly constant, and even with wide variations in dietary energy level and consumption (as I showed years ago; see here and here for data and discussion).  So, energy supplied as soy oil has different, beneficial effects when compared to energy supplied as starch (mainly) in finely-ground corn.

Practically speaking, ExPress® soy meal, produced with high-shear extruders and mechanical oil presses from Insta-Pro International, has more soy oil remaining in the meal versus solvent-extracted, commodity soybean meal.  As a result, diets formulated to contain ExPress® soy meal, in place of solvent-extracted soybean meal, will contain more soy oil.  This is part of the reason why ExPress® soy meal has been repeatedly shown to be superior to commodity soybean meal (see here, here, and here).