Quality control in cattle feed plant is of utmost importance for overall success and profitability of animal enterprises. No other factor, directly or indirectly related to proper nutrition and high performance of animals is more critical than feed quality control and ration consistency. The degree of quality is the consistency in which feed is formulated, processed, produced and delivered as compared to what is expected. Quality has been defined as “Degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfils requirements”. This clearly indicates that achieving quality means fulfilling requirements. The requirements may come from customers and in some cases from regulatory authorities. Usually quality is verified by comparison with a known standard. However, relative value of quality over time is extremely valuable and useful in many situations.
The relationship between feed quality and animal performance is important and encompasses not only the quantitative amounts of all feed components but also the digestibility and metabolism of those components. Thus, the challenge for animal nutritionists and others involved in feed production is to consistently monitor all aspects of feed production system being used and measure those variables that are good indicators of quality control.
A well organized quality control section is essential for a cattle feed plant (Fig. 1.0). The aim of this section is to maintain high standards of the compounded feed products. Animal nutrition officer has to ensure not only the nutritional standards but also the least-cost product for the livestock consumption which the farmers can afford easily.
The objective of quality control of feedstuff is to ensure that a consumer should obtain feeds that are unadulterated, true to their nature and produce desired results. Quality control is therefore, defined as the maintenance of quality at levels and tolerances acceptable to the buyer while minimizing the cost of processing. Main objectives of the quality control are detailed below:
1. Along with least cost of production, the quality of cattle feed should conform to the laid down specifications (for specific functions) so as to maintain the animals in optimum health and production.
2. By maintaining the quality of feed uniform and of desired standard, it will also help in keeping the goodwill of the farmers’ organizations and maintain the faith of the producers in their organisation which will help in boosting the sale of feed and consequently plant capacity utilization.
3. The quality control helps the milk producer to ensure that the product offered is properly labelled and supplied wholesome as feed for his livestock. For the manufacturer, it is an attempt to protect him from unscrupulous competitors who might misrepresent their products to the consumers. Thus, it is meant to safeguard the interests of both the producer and the consumer.
Quality control is everyone’s responsibility; it must be built in at every stage of the plant process, from identifying customer’s needs, through planning and implementation right from the point of receiving raw materials to delivery of finished products. In some cases, quality needs to be checked even beyond delivery to the customer since customer satisfaction can have an enormous impact on quality as perceived by them. In view of this, monitoring of quality control at different points has been classified as under:
1. Quality control of raw materials and finished products
2. Quality control during storage
3. Quality control during production