In Tunisia, feed formulation is mainly based on imported maize and soybeans, with a low inclusion level of other ingredients and byproducts such as wheat bran, barley, dried distiller grains with solubles (DDGs), and vegetable oils, among others. Optimization of feed formulation and quality control is crucial in the Tunisian feed industry because it is a highly competitive market with low profit margins.
Near infra red spectro-photometry (NIRS) technology is now routinely used for the evaluation of raw materials and the control of compound feed quality in Tunisia’s major feed companies. In this context, and in order to increase local awareness of U.S. Soy’s sustainable high quality, to improve the understanding of the value of soybean meals of different origins, and educating the local industries to appreciate valuable raw material, USSEC held a Near Infrared Spectroscopy Workshop on September 8 in Tunis, Tunisia. Sixteen participants, including laboratory technicians and nutritionists using NIRS technology representing major feed companies and reference laboratories, attended this event.
This event was hosted by GIPAC, the National Poultry Association, in their Tunis headquarters. The GIPAC institution has always enjoyed a fruitful partnership with USSEC. Dr. Denis Bastianelli, an expert in NIRS technology from CIRAD Research Institute, France, conducted the workshop. He gave three presentations: an introduction on NIRS technology; the use of NIRS technology in animal nutrition; and NIRS techniques used in the laboratory and online NIRS equipment.
He pointed out that Tunisian company laboratories generally use a generic calibration provided by their equipment (spectrometers) suppliers, without having a complete control on the reliability of the results used. NIRS could also most likely be used in a wider range of applications. The training aimed to present NIRS technique, its potential, its limitations, and the conditions of its implementation in the industry. A very productive discussion also took place amongst participants.
On September 9, Dr. Riadh Karma, USSEC Technical and Commercial Consultant for Tunisia, escorted Dr. Bastianelli on a field visit of two major new feed mills located in Jebel Oust; both of the feed mills are using NIRS technology equipment.
The first visit was to Nutrimix SNA’s (Poulina Group Holding) new feed mill, which is a top level mill equipped to produce 400 metric tons (MT) per day per plant. At this plant, a new extrusion facility of 24 MT per hour is being constructed, in addition to a 30,000 MT soybean storage facility.
The second visit was to a small plant called ALFA / Medimix Nord with a smaller capacity of 10 MT per hour.
During the plant and laboratory visits, Dr. Bastianelli and Dr. Karma actively participated with their customers in very interesting discussions on the benefits of this technology to improve ingredients and compound feed quality control, especially in matters of the use of soybean meal.