With the ever-increasing prices of raw materials of feed in a price competitive environment of livestock, aquaculture farmers are consistently exploring various avenues to lower operating costs. Feed extrusion is an effective method to enhance the efficiency of aquafeed, helping farmers achieve a cost advantage.
With global population expected to exceed 9 billion in 2050 along with a shift in demographics of middle-income earners, the current practice of farming to meet protein demand is unsustainable. We are at a race against time to produce more food in the next 20 years than we ever had to in the past 2000 years.While we pursue the objective of sustainable feed production, we cannot disregard feed extrusion as the technology brings about various dietary and technological advantages. Feed extrusion is a symbiotic effect that improves nutrient utilisation. It minimises anti-nutritional factors while increasing the ratio of soluble fibre.
For aquafeed, benefits of extrusion mainly lie with improving the availability and digestibility of nutrients within the digestive tract of livestock. Ultimately translating to a lower feed conversion ratio of livestock and feed savings. At the same time, extrusion sterilises the aquafeed, preventing salmonella in livestock. With aquafeed making up to 70% of aquaculture’s operating cost, ways to reduce the cost of feed is actively sought. This is where extrusion technology comes into play where it expedites livestock turnover by lowering its feed conversion ratio. Raw materials can be extruded to fulfil the specific requirements of shape, size, texture, floatability, palatability, and stability. All of which are crucial properties of aquafeed. Through feed extrusion, farmers can achieve the desired shape and size of aquafeed to ensure that their livestock gets the most nutrition out of every feeding session.
Disadvantages of feed extrusion
Like everything else, feed extrusion comes with its disadvantages.
When done in the inappropriate perimeters, feed extrusion may lead to a loss of thermolabile elements such as certain vitamins, enzymes and amino acids*. *Vitamins A, C, B1, Lysine, Methionine, Cysteine.
The main cost of feed extrusion lies in its energy-demanding process. Large amounts of heat and electrical energy are required to compress raw materials into a granule of nutrient-rich aquafeed.
In recent years, research and development in feed extrusion technology have made considerable advances with regards to control automation and improving energy efficiency. Nonetheless, optimising aquafeed performance for nutritional properties of enhancing livestock growth still offers considerable room for innovation and improvement.
At Werms.Inc, our home brand aquafeed Wermeal™ Aqua employs extrusion technology to sterilise and lock in the nutritional content of our aquafeed. Studies have shown that the inclusion of mealworm tends to minimise the processing loss of vitamin B6 & B9 during extrusion. Through feed extrusion, we are able to provide a wide range of aquafeed sizes, accommodating every stage of livestock growth from hatchery to grow out. We pride ourselves on giving our farmers peace of mind that their livestock is fed with nothing but the best.