What Is Steam Extruded Horse Feed and Why Is It So Good For My Horse?
Imagine popcorn. Your body cannot digest a raw dried corn kernel, but popped corn is easy to eat, and close to 100% digestible. This is what Steam Extrusion does to the tiny starch molecules inside raw grains in Steam Extruded horse feed. It means the starch and nutrients can be easily digested and absorbed in the small intestine of the horse, rather than passing through into the hindgut or caecum. It’s when undigested starches pass through to the ceacum that they ferment and create unwanted gasses that cause problems like colic, laminitis and behavioural issues. The ceacum is a big fermentation vat that is designed to break down and digest fibre, not starch or proteins.
Wet Steam Extrusion enables different ingredients such as cereal grain, protein sources, oils, vitamins and minerals to be blended together and then cooked to make all the nutrients contained within those ingredients highly available to the horse.
The Wet Steam Extrusion Process
All the components are blended together and ground down to a fine meal before being preconditioned with hot water and steam. Once ready the material then passes into a barrel where more hot steam is added, pressure cooking the feed to a point where gelatinisation occurs (the stage when the starch molecules turn into a pop-corn like state). The product then passses through a die and is cut to shape. The feed is then oven baked and cooled with the result being the extruded nuggets that you will see in your Super-Premium Keyflow® feeds and balancers. Heat stable vitamins and minerals are used, so maximum levels of efficacy are retained in the finished product.
Because our process happens under highly controlled conditions, we know precisely what ingredients are put into the extrusion, how long it’s cooked for and what the end result will be.
Steam Extruded Horse Feeds, are over 90% digestible in the small intestine. This means that you can feed less extruded feed to see better results; your feeds will last for longer, and the local birds won’t end up with half of your horses dinner. Digestive efficiency of the horse is much better with Steam Extrusion than other methods such cubes or crushed course mixes, this is better for the horses health and performance, and it’s better for your feed budget.
The Difference Between Wet Steam Extruded Horse Feed and Dry Extruded Horse Feed.
Wet Steam Extrusion is a gentle form of cooking which means beneficial nutrients are kept intact right through to the finished product that is fed to your horse. It’s important to make the distinction between our process and ‘Dry Extrusion’ which is a similar but cheaper process that can degrade and destroy certain nutrients. In the Dry Extrusion process, ground material is forced into a barrel with no additional steam. It is this force and the resultant heat that cooks the feed. Dry Extrusion produces a finished product with lower digestibility in the small intestine and a ‘poorer’ nutritional profile than that produced with Wet Steam Extrusion.
Keyflow® Wet Steam Extruded Horse Feeds
Keyflow® offers two fully Steam Extruded Horse Feed products: Mark Todd Perfect Balance – a fully steam extruded feed balancer which has far superior digestibility to commonly used pressed pellets or ‘cubes’. As Mark says, “Perfect Balance is an excellent option for horses that are on forage based diets, box rest, good doers or those that need a bit extra added to their current feed.”
Keyflow Key-Plus is a fully steam extruded concentrated feed additive, ideal for ‘topping up’ your horses condition or energy levels without the need to over-feed, especially over winter and during competitions. Key-Plus is highly effective and is designed to complement the rest of the Keyflow range and indeed any feed that you’re currently using.
The rest of Keyflow’s feeds contain steam extruded components, because we know this is the most efficient and effective way to deliver ultra digestible protein, energy, vitamins and minerals to your horse.
Keyflow® – Redefining Equine Nutrition