In a review of the animal and aqua-feed industries in Nigeria by O.A. Fagbenro and O.T. Adebayo, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Ondo State, the duo explained that “formulated feeds account for the major operating costs in the semi-intensive and intensive pig and poultry industry. These costs may account for as much as 60 to 80 per cent of total production costs.”

According to them, the livestock resources are cattle, goats, sheep, donkeys, horses, pigs, giant rats, cane rats, guinea pigs and rabbits, while the poultry resources include indigenous and imported chickens, guinea fowls, turkeys, ducks and geese. Though their research showed that over 90 per cent of the country’s pig and rabbit production is managed under traditional husbandry systems, commercial production techniques are used extensively in the intensive poultry and aquaculture sectors, where they account for 27 per cent and 19 per cent of production, respectively.

They found that the poor quality of the feeds currently available to the industry, with the exception of a few emerging industrially produced feed brands, generates high mortalities, low productivity and eventually, very poor returns on investments of the poultry, pig and fish farmers.

They argued that “an efficient feed-mill industry is, therefore, crucial to the sustainability of viable livestock and poultry production enterprises. Poultry feeds account for over two-thirds of all the manufactured animal feeds. “There are few commercial sources of fish feeds, and no pet food industries in Nigeria.”

The evaluation of the industry need by the scholars exposes that an opportunity exists for small and medium-scale feed millers who could close the gap of feed supplies to livestock and poultry farmers in the semi-urban and rural areas, as most of the big players in feed production are concentrated in the urban areas, mostly in the state capitals.

Location of feed mills
Potential sources of contamination should be considered when deciding where to locate animal feeds mills, as well as the effectiveness of any reasonable measures that might be taken to protect feeds. Feed mills should be located in areas that are not exposed to smoke, dust and other contaminants.

They should be located away from environmentally polluted areas and industrial activities that pose a serious threat of contamination to feeds; areas exposed to flooding; areas liable to infestations of pests or infiltration of liquid.
This is crucial because contaminated feeds imply contaminated stocks, with consequences of morbidity, mortality and reduction in egg production in laying birds or weight gain in broiler or other livestock.

Industrial feed mills
The Federal Department of Animal Production and Husbandry Services of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, in its minimum operation standards for feed milling, described industrial feed plants as ones with a minimum capacity of five metric tonnes per hour. Regulations guiding industrial production of feed mills state that such large mills must be located in industrial layouts. They should also be located strategically to quality-compromising materials getting into the feeds.

To be competitive, most industrial feed mills are located in areas with the largest concentration of poultry farms. Other factors influencing location are cheapest raw materials such as maize, bone meals, and soy beans; and proximity to power supply, labour and logistics.

On-farm feed mills
These feed mills are located on the livestock farms and are meant to produce feeds for the farm stock. An on-farm feed mill must be located at the entrance end of the farm and must be at least 200 meters away from the livestock production area of the farm. If located strategically and with utmost hygiene, these can serve other neighbouring poultry farms. However, it should be done with great caution, as laxity could me spread of diseases from farm to farm in the cluster. Bio-security measures are of immense importance here if partial commercialisation is considered in the on-farm feed mills.

Toll feed mills
Toll feed mills necessarily service many livestock farmers. Since this has bio-security implication it is therefore important that these feed plants must be located at least two kilometers away from livestock production activities, the federal department recommended.

Feed mill layout
The department recommends that the internal design and layout of feed mills should permit good hygiene practices, including protection against cross contamination. Activities should be adequately separated by physical or other effective means where cross-contamination may result.

Buildings and facilities should be designed to allow easy access for cleaning, including access to the inside of relevant equipment. There should be enough space to satisfactorily conduct all process operations and product inspections. Where necessary, designated and appropriately designed storage areas for toxic, explosive or inflammable materials should be provided and located away from manufacturing, storage and packing areas.

All types of feed mills should have offices (for reception, warehouse staff, accounts staff, etc); raw materials store; mill or plant (hammer mill, mixers, scales and bagging facilities); finished feeds store; cloak room for staff and a security gate office.

The feed mill process
The production process in the feed mill must be geared towards the production of high quality feeds devoid of chemical, physical and biological (e.g. mycotoxins) hazards. All raw materials and finished products must comply with sanitary and phytosanitary standards. Raw materials must be checked for contamination and adulteration.

This must be located in an accessible area within the mill where trucks can pack unhindered and without obstructing traffic. There should also be a loading or discharge bay with a shootout roof to allow discharge of materials or loading during bad weather.

Raw materials like maize, groundnut cake, soya meals, etc are to be stored here prior to issuance to the production section. Modern facilities should have silos and bins, which save a lot of space and ease transfer into bins for weighing and grinding. All materials must be on wooden or metal pallets and typical stacking is one metric tonne per pallet, for ease of inventory auditing.

Materials stacked in warehouses must have identification boards and there must be space between the wall and the stack to avoid moisture build-ups during humid weather from being absorbed by grains and some other materials. The space between stacks of pallets should also provide space to spread tarpaulin cover for fumigation. Consideration must be given for adjustable shutters for fumigation of the plant and machinery. It is important that materials be free of impurities. Finished products should be stored separately from unprocessed feed ingredients and appropriate packaging materials should be used to avoid contamination. Bagged finished products must be stacked on wooden or metal pallets and there must be identification boards to differentiate products to avoid error during loading.

The feed plant consists of the tipping bay; the hammer mill; the mixer; the pelleting machine (optional); the crumbling machine (optional) and the discharging area. The tipping bay is the inlet to the hammer mill. Holding bins may be attached or not. Magnets must be installed to remove metals that may be included in materials. This is to protect the beaters of the hammer mill as well as the screen from being damaged by the metals.

Hammer mill
The size of the hammer mill and the capacity of the mixer determine the rating of the feed mill in metric tonne per hour and this ranges from 250kg to 50 metric tonnes per hour. The size of the sieve (screen) at the bottom of the shaft must take into account the desired particle size. The number of beaters varies with the type of hammer mill. All pulleys holding belts must have covers to prevent injuries to operators.

Mixer is a device mixing feed ingredients into a balanced and uniformed mash. Its efficiency must be checked and documented on a quarterly basis. Mixing time should be established for each type of product mix.Regulators recommend that flushing/physical cleanup must be accomplished quarterly and that there should be the use of separate lines when products which are not similar are processed. Horizontal mixers must be covered with a grill to prevent accidents when materials are directly dumped into the mixer.

Records and record keeping
Record keeping is very important in the feed mining business. The records to be kept should include raw materials received; inventory of raw materials; issuance of raw materials for production; daily production records; products transfer to store; inventory of finished products and sales/profit records.

Quality assurance 
The steps of quality assurance in a feed milling outfit which also identity the critical control points are as follows. All feed mills, according to the ministry, shall procure the service of a resident registered animal scientist who specialises in animal nutrition.

All staff must be provided with the necessary personnel protection equipment (PPE), which may include among others uniforms and overalls; nose masks for all production staff; safety boots with steel nose; goggles; earmuffs and safety helmets. Other materials relevant for plant and personnel safety to be installed in the factory include valid fire extinguishers, sand bucket and water point, as well as adequately stocked first aid box and medical facilities.