Maintaining Quality in Feed Mills: Temperature Control for Soybean Oil and Feed Components


In feed mills, maintaining the proper soybean oil temperature preserves the quality of the oil and animal feed components. Temperature fluctuations can lead to spoilage or degradation of these valuable products. Investing in reliable feed mill equipment that includes temperature monitoring devices, tote heaters, and controls is crucial for achieving consistent and precise temperature regulation. Accurate product temperature control helps ensure the overall safety and efficiency of the feed production process.

In this article, we look at the temperature control of soybean oil in feed mills and its importance in maintaining high-quality products.

The Significance of Soybean Animal Feed

Producers add soybean oil to the feed as it significantly contributes to the overall health and development of most types of livestock. The oil helps animals absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

What Animals Can Eat Soybeans?

Soybeans are commonly consumed by various types of livestock, including dairy and beef cattle. Additionally, other animals such as pigs, horses, and poultry can also benefit from soybeans as a valuable source of nutrition in their diets.

Is Soy Good for Animal Feed?

Yes, soy is a highly beneficial ingredient for animal feed. Soybeans and soybean meal are excellent sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them valuable components of animal diets. 

Soybean oil is also an excellent source of essential fatty acids, contributing to the overall nutritional balance of animal feed. The inclusion of soybean oil in animal diets supports healthy skin and coats, reproductive health, and overall metabolic function in livestock.

Temperature control solutions for agriculture, including soybean oil in feed mills, will preserve its quality and nutritional value.

Temperature Control for Soybean Oil in Feed Mills

Temperature control for bulk soybeans and soybean meal is critical for its preservation. 

Soybeans with a moisture content of 14% to 14.3% and kept at 41°F to 46°F (5°C to 8°C) can last for over two years without mold damage. However, soybeans kept at 86°F  (30°C) can be invaded by molds in a few weeks and severely damaged in six months. 

Soybean oil is more stable. It can last up to 2 years if stored in a cool, dark area around 59°F to 68°F (15°C to 20°C). In locations prone to freezing, it’s advisable to use heating blankets similar to the ones used for heating totes for nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing. Let’s review some questions regarding the specific temperatures of the oil.

Is Soybean Oil High Temperature?

Soybean oil is considered a high-temperature oil because of its relatively high smoke point. The smoke point is when the oil starts to produce visible smoke. 

What is the Heating Point of Soybean Oil?

The smoke point of soybean oil is 450°F (232°C). This high smoke point makes soybean oil perfect for high-temperature frying and sautéing.

Deep Frying and Cooking Oil Uses of Soybean Oil

Besides being an ingredient in animal feed, soybean oil is a valuable cooking commodity. U.S. consumption of soybean oil is over 4 times higher than that of rapeseed oil, the next most used cooking oil. It also has a low melting temperature. 

This article compares the melting points of common baking ingredients.

Is Soybean Oil OK for Deep Frying?

Yes, soybean oil is excellent for deep frying due to its stability. The high smoke point allows the oil to maintain its stability and quality during the frying process. It’s ideal for deep frying chicken, French fries, and other breaded or battered foods. 

What Temperature Does Soybean Oil Ignite?

Soybean oil ignites between 700°F to 750°F (371°C to 399°C). Operators of frying equipment must set the thermostats well below the ignition temperature for safety reasons.

Safety is one of the most important considerations when selecting equipment for any purpose. Next, let’s look at equipment specifically for animal feed mills. 

Equipment and Cost in Feed Mills

Producers and farmers must balance the costs and efficiencies of various equipment to ensure the successful and sustainable operation of their feed mills.

What Equipment is Used in a Feed Mill?

The various equipment required in a feed mill include:

  1. Feed mixers: These mixers can blend different ingredients and create a uniform mixture for animal feed.
  2. Seed Conditioners: A Vertical Seed Conditioner (VSC) uses steam to minimize contamination and add moisture for palletizing. 
  3. Pellet mills: They are used to compress and mold ingredients into pellet form, making it easier for animals to consume and digest.
  4. Grinders: Grinders break down raw materials into smaller, more digestible particles for animal feed.
  5. Conveyors: Conveyors facilitate the movement of ingredients between different processing stages.
  6. Storage bins: Storage bins ensure the proper supply, flow, organization and preservation of processed feed and raw materials.

These equipment are essential for the processing, mixing, and storage of animal feed within a feed mill operation.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Feed Mill?

The cost to equip and start up a feed mill ranges from tens of thousands to several million dollars, depending on its size and complexity. Initial expenses include facility acquisition, equipment purchase, raw materials, regulatory compliance, and staffing. Ongoing costs like utilities, maintenance, labor, and marketing also need consideration. 

Here’s an example of the initial investment and running costs associated with establishing and operating a small to medium-sized feed mill:

Initial Investment:

  • Acquiring or leasing a facility: $100,000 – $500,000
  • Purchasing equipment (mixers, pellet mills, grinders, conveyors, etc.): $200,000 – $1,000,000
  • Raw materials and inventory: $50,000 – $200,000
  • Regulatory and licensing expenses: $10,000 – $50,000
  • Skilled personnel and initial labor costs: $50,000 – $150,000

Total Initial Investment: $410,000 – $1,900,000

These figures are approximate and will vary due to location, scale of operation, market conditions, and other factors.

Feed Milling Process

Feed milling is a crucial step in the production of high-quality animal feed.

What is a Feed Milling Machine?

A feed milling machine processes raw ingredients into animal feed. There’s a specific machine for chicken feed, cattle feed and feed for other animals. 

How Do You Make a Feed Mill?

Setting up a feed mill involves a comprehensive approach to construction and operation. Here’s a step-by-step guide detailing the intricacies of the feed milling process:

  1. Facility Design and Construction: Begin by designing and constructing a facility that meets the specific requirements for feed production. The most common types of feed mills produce cattle feed, broiler chicken feed, or feed for turkeys or poultry breeder/layer farms. Consider factors such as layout, workflow, safety regulations, and environmental considerations.
  2. Raw Material Handling: Purchase high-quality raw materials and establish efficient handling processes to store, transport, and prepare the ingredients for the milling process.
  3. Grinding and Mixing: Grinding and mixing equipment processes the raw materials into a uniform mixture. This step ensures that the feed contains the essential nutrients for consumption by the target animals.
  4. Palletization: Pellet mills compress the mixed ingredients into pellet form. Palletization enhances feed digestibility and facilitates efficient packaging, feeding and storage.
  5. Packaging and Distribution: Packaging in 50-pound bags or IBC totes is essential for the efficient distribution process.

The construction and operation of a feed mill must follow industry standards to ensure the production of safe and nutritious animal feed.

Soybean Oil in Other Industries

Soybean oil is an essential ingredient in various industries, such as:

  • Food and Beverage Industry: Used in food processing, salad dressings, margarine production, and as a cooking oil.
  • Cosmetics and Personal Care Industry: Utilized in skincare products, hair care products, and soaps for their emollient and moisturizing properties.
  • Pharmaceutical Industry: Serves as a carrier oil for drug formulations and is used in the production of dietary supplements and vitamins.
  • Biodiesel and Biofuel Industry: Key feedstock for the production of biodiesel, a renewable alternative to traditional diesel fuel.
  • Industrial Applications: Soybean oil is an essential ingredient in paints, coatings, adhesives, caulking compounds, and lubricants.  

One of the most significant advantages of soybean oil is that it is renewable.

Disadvantages and Challenges in Using Soybean Meal in Feed

Soybean meal and oil have proven to be beneficial as a feed ingredient. However, there are some disadvantages.

What are the Disadvantages of Soybean Meal in Animal Feed?

While soybean meal is a valuable protein source for animals, it can also present certain disadvantages. One study suggests that soybeans in pet foods can lead to poor fecal quality, loose stools, and flatulence. Some pets or farm animals may have allergic reactions to soy. 

Soybeans contain anti-nutritional compounds, trypsin and oligosaccharides, which can reduce trace mineral and other vitamin uptake.

What Does Soybean Meal Do for Animals? 

There are many benefits of adding soybean oil to feed. In dairy cattle, it improves the growth of heifers and their milk production. Beef cattle have better body condition and increase the weaning weight of calves. Soybean oil has been shown to increase the number of pigs per litter and their survival rates. It also improves egg production and weight in chickens.

Optimizing Feed Quality with Proper Equipment

In the animal feed industry, proper equipment and technology are essential for producing high-quality feed. From intake to final packaging and transportation, the animal feed process relies on consistent temperature control. Two areas that are temperature critical are the conditioning stage and a hot air hygienic system.

  1. The conditioning process uses a live steam mixer. The process adds the correct amount of moisture at the right temperature and for a specific time. The steam acts as a lubricant to help form pellets, and it initiates the gelatinization of starch in the ground grain, promoting better digestion and nutrient absorption.
  2. A hot air system sanitizes the feed during the process, killing harmful pathogens and drying the feed. 

Powerblanket offers custom heating solutions for feed mills and other food-manufacturing processes, like heating wrap for 55-gallon drums of coconut oil and heating honey to prevent crystallization.

The goal is to meet the nutritional requirements and well-being of animals.

Quality in Feed Mills: Temperature Control for Soybean Oil & Feed

The role of efficient equipment and technology, such as Powerblanket IBC tote warmers and heaters, is crucial in ensuring the optimal quality and nutritional value of animal feed components.

Explore Powerblanket tote heaters, which offer a reliable solution for maintaining the optimal temperature of temperature-sensitive materials. By investing in proper equipment and technology, feed producers can uphold the nutritional value and safety standards of the feed.

Keep your temperature-sensitive materials at the right temperature with Powerblanket IBC tote warmers and heaters.


Shelby Thompson

Shelby Thompson is the head of standard product sales for Powerblanket. He has a distinguished military career, having served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In his time in the Marines, Shelby acquired an impressive skillset that he now uses in his current role. When he's not working, Shelby loves spending time outdoors with his wife, son, and daughter. He is also a semi-keen hunter, fair weather fisherman, and shooter. Unfortunately, Shelby also has something of an unlucky streak when it comes to Fantasy Football at the company.

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