Compared to all other methods of grain processing, steam flaking improves growth performance of cattle fed growing-finishing rations. Flaking improves energetic efficiency of corn and sorghum more than barley or wheat. For corn and sorghum, most of the benefit from flaking us due to improved ruminal and total tract digestion of the starch. For barley and wheat, the principle advantage from flaking is higher feed intake, due to improved physical attributes of the grain.
Optimum processing usually maximizes net energy intake. For optimum results, flaking needs to be more extensive for corn and sorghum than other cereals. Inadequate processing corn and sorghum will compromise efficiency due to poor starch digestion. In contrast, excessive processing will reduce intake and gain, harm efficiency and increase the prevalence of digestive and metabolic disorders.
Variables affecting steam flaking include grain type and variety, processing conditions, other diet ingredients, bunk management, feed additives, environment and cattle type. Regarding processing conditions, flake thickness (bulk density) has more impact than any other variable. Also important are retention time inside the steam chest and moisture content of the grain entering the flaking mill. Laboratory evaluation provides only limited insight about processing. Fecal starch is a valuable tool but is not being used widely. Other useful criteria include dry matter intake (DMI) and digestive disorders. Compared to other methods of processing, steam flaking requires a greater investment in equipment, energy and labor.
Dry extrusion, a robust, economical, easy-to-use, high-temperature – short-time thermal and pressure treatment, is used in over 100 countries to process oilseeds and grains; sterilize co-products for repurposing to reduce waste and save valuable nutrients; and manufacture complete, shaped feeds, like pet food and fish feed. Accompanied with a mechanical press for chemical-free oil extraction, dry extrusion and related commercial applications are well researched and known for producing quality oils and protein-rich meals.