In order to keep your feed fresh and nutritious, it is important to periodically clean your feed bins and to avoid putting one type of feed on top of another.

The presence of mold in a feedstuff or completed feed does not necessarily mean that it is producing a mycotoxin. Molds will germinate, grow, reproduce, and produce mycotoxins when provided with:
Free Moisture
Free Oxygen

In addition, the length of storage and degree of microorganism containment before storage are also important. Feeds and feed ingredients, when stored under normal conditions, provide all elements necessary for microorganism growth and reproduction.

Reasons to empty feed bins:
•    Maintain nutrient value of feed. (See Table above)
•    Maintain structural integrity (pellet quality, uniform mix) of feed.
•    Proper feed rotation/inventory management.
•    Reduce risk of contaminants, insects, moisture, mold and toxins, and the resulting odors.
•    Proper application of medications.
•    Less variety of feed, less chance of incorrect feed.
•    Efficiency of delivery: bigger loads = better pellet quality.
•    Build-up of old feed reduces storage capacity.
•    Increased life of bin structure.

Flow of Feed from Storage Bin
• The first feed to leave the bin is directly above the bin opening. If feed remains in the bin from a previous flock or herd, it will be released first as new feed is piled on top. (Figure 1)
• As the  feed level drops in the center, feed at the outer edges of the bin begins to fall into the center. If different types of feed are piled onto each other in the bin, they will funnel out of the bin and become mixed. (Figure 2)
• If bin is not completely emptied, feed may remain in the area of the bin shoulders. (Figure 3)
• Old feed will become trapped if new feed is placed in the bin prior to completely emptying the bin.

Suggested Management Procedures
1. Keep bins dry. Moisture and warmth promote mold growth.
2. Repair any bin leaks.
3. Inspect bin lids for proper seal.
4. Rotate feed in bins to allow each bin to stand empty whenever possible.
5. Remove all caked and moldy feed to prevent buildup.
6. Avoid returning left-over feed from the farm as it may serve as a source of contamination in the feed mill. Please note: In order to prevent contamination, feed removed from the farm is not permitted to return to Wenger Feeds’ mills.
7. Wash and air-dry bins at least two times per year—ideal times are late spring and early fall. Empty the boot and wash and dry it as well.
8. Goal: Use only one feed type at a time per bin.
9. Maintain fill-system in good state of repair—avoid the “duct tape” syndrome and replace worn tube augers.
10. Document all cleaning procedures. Documents provide evidence of cleaning and a record of cleaning frequency.

In summary, proper farm bin management will improve animal health and feed efficiency while lowering equipment maintenance and replacement costs, which will improve your bottom line.

For more information about Wenger Feeds’ Products and Services, contact us.