How To Make Alkagrain

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What is Alkagrain?

Alkagrain can be produced from any mature cereal grain-Wheat, Barley, Oats, Sorghum, Maize etc.

The Home’N’Dry process aggressively releases Ammonia into the grain that eliminates moulds and other spoilage organisms and attacks pre-existing mycotoxins present on the harvested grain.  This also raises the pH of the material to an alkaline level, which acts as a buffer when fed out to animals.  At the same time this activity enhances the protein level and fibre digestibility of the grain.

Stage 1 – Growing

The cereal crop should be grown to it’s maximum potential with fully mature grain. 

Stage 2 – Harvesting

Should it be decided to make Alkagrain, the crop should be harvested using a conventional combine harvester.  Whilst the grain is mature the process does not require dried grain, so the crop can be harvested in damp conditions and a little surface moisture will help the milling and preservation process.  (Though harvesting in the rain should be avoided.)

Stage 3 – Processing

The grain can be milled before or after storage and preferably should be crimped/rolled using a conventional grain mill.  Milling should break the grain but not turn it to meal.  The Home’N’Dry pellets need to be well mixed with the grain at the required rate prior to storage. (See pellet inclusion rates.)  We recommend a few methods.

•Add the pellets into the milled grain using a calibrated bucket or auger.

•Load pellets into a mixer wagon along with the milled grain and mix.

•Blend pellets with whole grain whilst filling storage, ensuring a consistent mix of pellets is achieved.

Stage 4 – Storage

Alkagrain should be sealed under a high quality plastic sheet that extends down the store sides.  This can be an indoor or an outdoor store.  Whilst the floor is less important, a smooth clean surface will virtually eliminate storage loss of grain.  After opening, the face should be protected from rain and covered with the sheet whenever possible.  The Alkagrain process directly discourages vermin.

Why Choose Alkagrain?

Alkagrain is a high quality, high energy, starchy concentrate feed, suitable for feeding to all ruminating livestock.  The protein level can be manipulated through the Home’N’Dry pellet application rate.

The Alkagrain process allows you to preserve, store and feed grain on the farm without specialist storage, without drying and without further processing.

Alkagrain is produced using mature grain to maximise grain and starch yield per hectare.

Alkagrain has unique nutritional characteristics that enhance the whole diet fed to farm livestock.

Alkaline pH buffers and improves rumen function.

Added protein reduces or eliminates the need to buy protein supplements in the feeding period.

Deters vermin during storage.



Feeding.

Remember that diets should be formulated to allow for the increased grain content and buffering effect of Alkagrain.

Application Rates

Minimum recommended application rate is 3% (30kg/tonne), higher rates can be used to ensure ammonisation and to increase protein, each 1% (10kg/tonne) of included Home’n’Dry will increase protein of the Alkagrain by 1.46%


Alkagrain ideally should be 14 - 18% moisture, but can be made from MATURE but wetter grain, this requires an increase in pellet application rate of AT LEAST 0.1% per 1% additional moisture; to a maximum moisture of 28% (72% Dry Matter).  If in doubt please contact us for advice.



Alkagrain Production- “Do’s and Don’t’s”

Alkagrain production is generally straightforward and 10’s of thousands of tonnes have now been successfully produced across all our markets.  Whilst harvesting a mature crop, processing it in a milling machine, mixing Home’N’Dry pellets with it, sheeting well, keeping it out of continuous rain fall are easy to achieve; we have come across some situations where questions arise hence these Do’s and Don’t’s to help new users in the future.


Do Use Mature Grain.

To maximise your yield of starch and grain dry matter the grain needs to be fully mature – normal harvesting stage.  It may not yet be dry but it needs to be mature.  The crop and the seed coat will not be green.  Immature grain will contain sugars that will react with the released ammonia and this will reduce effectiveness of preservation.

Note that if the grain has sprouted the system will cope with some sprouted grain though pellet inclusion rate will need to be higher(see above) and the grain will be browner or grey in colour.   Sprouted grain requires minimum application rate of pellets to be increased by at least 20%.

With wetter(>22% Moisture) grain it is helpful to either spread additional pellets over the surface or double application rate of pellets in the top 30cm or so of the storage bunk. (Past experience shows that in these cases the extra pellets prevent browning as otherwise the moisture tends to condense under the sheet and dilute the Ammonia Salts)

Do Process The Grain Well.

The grain needs to be mechanically damaged, otherwise grain will pass through the animals fed without being digested.  Most mobile crimpers/mills and even forage harvesters with small grain processors are capable of breaking mature grains.  Best machine work rates are typically gained when the machine is fitted with 2mm Fluted Rollers.

Do Check That The Grain Is Effectively Processed.

It is a good precaution to periodically check the processed grain by observation to ensure that the grains are sufficiently damaged.

Do Mix Pellets Effectively.

An even mix of pellets through the batch is important for effective preservation.  The wetter it is, the more important this is as Ammonia preservative travels shorter distances in wet grain.


Do Use At Least The Minimum Application Rate Of Pellets

We have carefully calculated and tested the amounts of pellet required to give good preservation of the grain.  Most problems seen in practice are associated with pellet application rate being too low for the circumstances and lower than recommended.

Remember that, unlike any other grain treatment, every bit of Home’N’Dry is feed material that will be available to feed to your livestock during feeding season.  This protein content is cost competitive with other protein sources so there is no need to run the application rate low to save cost.


Do Not Consolidate The Clamp.

Because the preservation requires Ammonia to migrate into the grain do not consolidate into the store.  This is particularly important as the grain gets wetter.  Grain over 25% Moisture should be clamped no higher than 1.5m(5ft) to prevent excess consolidation at the bottom.

Do Sheet The Crop Well.

We need to keep the Ammonia in the clamp in the first couple of weeks so side sheets and a good quality top sheet are important.  After this time the Ammonia will stabilise as Ammonia Salts and the clamp can be opened for feeding, moved or even un-sheeted completely (INDOORS ONLY!).(Un-sheeting  after 5 or 6 weeks allows the moisture in wetter crops to dissipate however the surface needs to be protected from rain.)

After opening it is important that the sheet prevents water running over the clamp surfaces, as this will wash away the Ammonium Bicarbonate preservative and lead to spoilage.

Do Have The Material Analysed By A Laboratory That Knows What It Is Doing!

Alkagrain requires protein to be measured directly on fresh samples.  NOT dried samples and NOT on rapid test grain equipment and NOT by NIR.


Do Call For Advice If You Need Further Technical Support At Any Stage.

Andrew Martin

0427 477 144