Influence of Storage Bin Design and Feed Characteristics on Flowability of Pig Diets Containing Maize Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles

Hilbrands, Adrienne
Rosentrater, Kurt
Rosentrater, Kurt
Shurson, Gerald
Johnston, Lee
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Maize dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) is a valuable ingredient in the swine industry but when incorporated into diets at high levels (40%) poor flowability of the feed often results. Researchers have investigated the physical properties of DDGS and use of anti-caking agents to determine their influence on flowability but few studies have evaluated effects of feed storage structures on flowability. Thus, two experiments were designed to evaluate the effects of feed bin design and passive agitator use on flowability of a commercial swine finishing diet containing 40% DDGS. Six bins of three different designs were used, which included: a galvanized steel, seamless bin with a 60° cone (Steel60; Dealers Livestock, Glenwood, Minn.); a galvanized, corrugated steel bin with a 67° cone (Steel67; PigTek, Milford, Ind.); and a white, polyethylene bin with a 60° cone (Poly60; Prairie Pride, Winnipeg, MB). In Experiment 1, rate of feed flow from each bin was assessed on days 3, 7, and 21 post-feed delivery. Feed flow from Poly60 (736.8 kg/min) was faster than Steel60 (602.9 kg/min), with Steel67 having intermediate flow (663.3 kg/min). In Experiment 2, passive feed flow agitators (Sure Flo Agitator, Farmer Boy Ag Supply, Myerstown, Pa.) were installed in one bin of each design. Feed flow was evaluated on days 2, 3, 6, 7, 20, and 21 post-feed delivery. Feed flow from Poly60 (900.7 kg/min) was greater than flow from either Steel60 (826.7 kg/min) or Steel67 (843.8 kg/min). The passive agitator increased flow in Poly60 (970.0 vs. 831.4 kg/min), tended to improve feed flow in Steel67 (880.2 vs. 807.4 kg/min), but had no effect in Steel60 (826.8 vs. 826.7 kg/min). Results indicate feed bin design can influence flowability of feed containing 40% DDGS. Of the bins tested, the passive agitator appeared to improve feed flow in some, but not all bin designs.


Published in Applied Engineering in Agriculture 32(2): 273-280 (doi: 10.13031/aea.32.11175). Copyright 2016 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Posted with permission.