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Corn Processing Module

This module is designed to help understand how corn is processed into food, feed, and industrial products and where potential food and feed safety problems may occur, and how corn processing fits into feed manufacturing. This grain module is brought to you by the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, and was produced by the former Crop Adviser Institute.

Click here to access the Corn Processing Module

Learning objective: Identify types of corn processing, types of corn by-products used as feed ingredients, equipment used during corn processing, and any associated quality or feed safety concerns.

Introduction: Corn and corn by-products represent the largest single source of feed ingredients. Eighty percent of the United States corn crop is processed domestically into feed, food, or fuel. Each process has its own unique set of products and by-products, but all processors sell products into primary feed channels.

Corn by-products: Processing by-products - for example distillers grains, corn germ meal, corn gluten feed, and hominy feed — become ingredients in feed operations. Corn by-products that are used as livestock feed ingredients include dried distillers grains with solubles, syrup, and feed grade oil from the ethanol fermentation process. Other by-products that are commonly sold as feed ingredients are hominy feed from dry-milling and gluten meal and gluten feed from wet-milling.

Quality and feed safety: Physical hazards that could come in with grain during harvest are largely diminished by magnets and good management practices. Chemical hazards might be found in pesticide-treated seed that has been blended with field corn and delivered to the feed mill, or grain by-products might contain antibiotic residues from processing. Mycotoxins are also a significant hazard in grains and by-products. Feed ingredient quality is usually defined by USDA Grade factors or by contract specifications based on nutrient value.

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Publication Date: 09/2016

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