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I was watching a Netflix series on food and health with commentator Michael Palin. The wheat segment had a comment from a nutritionist that was very interesting. The history of advance of civilization and the important role of food supply with domesticated wheat. But, did you know that if one merely ate wheat they would starve or die of bad nutrition. Only when the wheat is ground up and allowed to ferment with leavening does the wheat magically become life sustaining. The sour dough leavening contains a natural microbe mix that nutritionist think the real improvement. Something we have lost in modern commercial bakeries. Also, the whole grain flour and the low horsepower method of stone grinding play a important role in health. Our modern fast methods of making flour may be destroying micro nutrients that health research have just recently realized a very important food character. Over cooking or harsh cooking will damage the nutritional value of food, as well. We have a better understanding of health benefits of raw or low heat cooking to minimize the damage and loss of micro nutrients, nowadays.

 

So, how does this relate to feed? Well, think about how we have also learned that healthy meat comes from healthy animals. That corn has been criticized as a feed especially for fattening up cattle per the bad fat content of the meat. It's a unnatural food for the usual grass eating bovine. That the majority of corn harvest goes to the task of animal feed. What would be the consequences of taking that portion and processing to a much higher nutritional feed stock? I would think a win win and huge improvement in human diet. To maximize the value of corn utilize for animal feed may take a processing plant to bake the stuff into sour dough mix. The "corn bread" crumbles a big improvement to animal health and extents the corn product value. Top it off, my guess the processing may include pulling off the undesirable corn oil component. May an ethanol plant become a corn processing plant? I remember the talk of industry converting to wet mill operations per the value of flexing production to many more co-products. My guess this would be very superior method for nutrition as its a low horsepower impact of corn kernel. So, the processing plant could flex between yet another co-product. Utilize some starch and distillery grains to ferment with wild microbes for extremely healthy feed. It may prove out the entire corn crop can be managed this way and the practice of feeding of raw corn to live stock would pass away. The processing plant could optimize operations per market demands and remove unwanted constituents of corn feed for other co-products. The movie was pretty convincing that modern practices of making bread removes most of the valuable health benefits. Can only think we could learn a lesson here for animal feed as well. 

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Cornell University did some research on bread feed and discovered the food more efficient for cattle. The food is predigested and as such easier task for ruminant to digest and uptake more nutrients. Farmers have utilized waste commercial bread for cattle with good results. The animals love the stuff, was a frequent comment. Cattle have a low conversion rate of feed to meat production. Poultry is 3x more efficient and fish the most efficient. Cattle waste much energy per the cellulose conversion and wasted energy of methane production. This methane is very GW unfriendly and scientist and biologist attempting to minimize the pollutant per cattle and cow rearing. Feed that is high in cellulose the most productive food to produce methane. Corn does minimize methane, but expensive. A.O.Smith Harvestore system was a silo system that eliminated air and silage naturally fermented (some what) per anaerobic bacteria. This system improved the food quality of the silage. European farmers practiced scooping up cattle droppings and utilized within the silage. This is possible because the animal converts so little of the feed stock and running the matter through the Harvestore system made it again, edible . Meaning they reprocess droppings up to 3x and still get good nutrition, for the animal. This is more popular where land prices for grazing are high.

 

So, how does the sour dough natural yeast corn feed fit in within a corn process plant? Well, it's better to process cellulose upon the restrictions and concentration of a stationary process than within cattle walking about. Much easier to reprocess this concentrated and readily available CO2 emission. Easier to contain the methane per on site anaerobic digester. So, the corn process plant can remove the corn cellulose component a good thing to reduce cattle methane emissions. Predigesting the corn per ferment process make the feed more efficient. Meaning less corn required for same milk production or meat production. My guess this may be substantial? Research has found that feed supplements work to minimize cattle emission of methane, as well. This could be added to the feed mix. If the cattle digestive system has to work less for the conversion of sour dough bread, then it would appear the system would naturally produce less methane, become more efficient, and provide more feed value of corn. This when combined with the potential benefit of sour dough and low horsepower grain preparation might indeed be a step up in wise use of corn. Maybe the cellulosic plant could process the cellulose instead of the cattle, thus eliminating the methane emissions of cattle. Predigested cattle feed.       

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Consumers interested in foregoing wheat gluten products are attracted to sour dough corn bread per taste and probiotics nature of the food. Thinking of how poor cattle digestion is converting feed to meat, one would think processing corn to easily digestible feed would improve the condition. Maybe get 2-3x more nutritional value of the corn and eliminate the methane producing cellulose component. I was reading of comparison of dry vs wet milling of corn process plant technology. The first step of dry mill is the hammer mill. That process is very high energy and quick transformation of corn kernel. If the health experts are correct within concern of high speed wheat milling, I would guess the nutritional value of corn is likewise undermined within the hammer mill. Wet mill starts with no abusive process and instead soaks the kernel to facilitate fractional separation. I read the dry mill ethanol plant produces low quality animal feed. That's not good. The ethanol process and distillery microbes should be improving feed quality. It looks like the wet mill is a superior process for maximizing corn value. It's more expensive, but allows the plant operation to flex to more co-products as desired for market concerns. The quality of feed is improved as well.

 

Some interesting trends that may become a influence upon ethanol industry. Iowa has a higher energy return on corn ethanol per the common practice of farmers taking delivery of wet distillery grains for daily feed rations. Note, that EPA is formalizing regs that would require raw manure of cattle or cows to be treated within anaerobic digester to control methane emissions. Would an ethanol plant naturally add such a digester as a benefit to the plant operation and local farmers. Farmers make the daily trek to drop off manure and load up on WDGs. How about the request of EPA to register another cellulosic D3 RIN pathway of separate plants of converting cellulose to sugar and sugar ethanol production. Since, cellulose feed stock transportation is so expensive, process plants must locate within 30 miles of supplies. I makes sense to locate more lower cost plants through out the country close to feed stocks. These processing plants probably would be smaller than the current class and work within the farm community for coordination of services such as digester methane, fertilizer, feed, and power generation. The cellulosic sugar syrup a new market utilized for ethanol production or what have you need. 

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