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Interpretive Summary: Influence of air equilibration time, sampling techniques, and storage temperature on enzymatic starch availability of steam-flaked corn

By Anne Zinn

A recent study in the Journal of Animal Science conducted five experiments to evaluate factors influencing starch availability estimates of steam-flaked corn. This information is valuable because measuring enzymatic starch availability is commonly used as a quality control method to ensure steam-flaked corn manufacturing consistency in commercial cattle feeding operations, but starch availability estimates can be variable. Factors evaluated included sample handling, sifted portions of steam-flaked corn, air equilibration time, moisture, and storage temperature. Characterizing effects of sifting, air equilibration time, and storage temperature and how that influences starch availability is necessary to improve techniques and reduce the variation of starch availability estimates, which would assist feed yard personnel in developing more reliable methods.

Results of the present study showed that air equilibration, heat exposure, moisture, and sifting influenced starch availability of steam-flaked corn. It was determined that sifting  steam-flaked corn samples is a useful way to reduce variation and improve starch availability estimates, as well as obtain a measurement of the proportion of fines. Overall, use of the strategies evaluated here can lead to more consistent estimates of starch availability; improved estimates of enzymatic starch availability of steam-flaked corn and the proportion of fines could potentially lead to improved flaking consistency in commercial feedlots.

The full study and explanation of each strategy evaluated can be found on the Journal of Animal Science webpage.