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Title:
WEATHERIZED MINERALS AND METHODS OF MAKING AND USING SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/122942
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A weatherized mineral mixture is produced by heating a digestible fat or fatty acid and spraying a mineral mixture with the heated digestible fatty acid to form a protective layer over the mineral mixture. The weatherized mineral mixture may be free of salts of fatty acids, namely soaps. The weatherized mineral mixture sheds water and is wind-resistant. Upon ingestion by livestock animals, the protective coating is digested and the minerals within the mineral mixture are absorbed by the livestock animal.

Inventors:
KANZELBERGER-COOLICH MELISSA (US)
SCOTT RONALD R (US)
Application Number:
US2013/025753
Publication Date:
August 22, 2013
Filing Date:
February 12, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PURINA ANIMAL NUTRITION LLC (1080 County Road F West, Ms 2500Shoreview, MN, 55126, US)
International Classes:
A01K13/00; A01K29/00; A23K1/16
Domestic Patent References:
2006-08-10
2007-09-07
Foreign References:
US20060263496A12006-11-23
US20080152755A12008-06-26
US3892880A1975-07-01
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRUHN, David, E. et al. (Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Suite 150050 South Sixth Stree, Minneapolis MN, 55402-1498, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method of forming a weatherized mineral mixture, comprising:

heating a fat; and

spraying a mineral mixture with the heated fat to provide a protective layer over the mineral mixture;

wherein the weatherized mineral mixture is free of salts of fatty acids.

2. The method of claim 1 , further comprising spraying mineral oil over the protective layer.

3. The method claim 2, further comprising providing loose trace minerals, wherein the loose trace minerals are separate from the mineral mixture with the protective layer, and wherein upon spraying the mineral oil, the loose trace minerals are incorporated onto the protective layer.

4. The method of claim 1 , wherein the fat comprises palm stearin.

5. The method of claim 1 , wherein the mineral mixture comprises one or more of macronutrients, micronutrients, minerals, trace minerals and pelleted minerals.

6. The method of claim 1 , wherein spraying a mineral mixture with the heated fat further comprises spraying the mineral mixture with the heated fat in a mixer.

7. The method of claim 1 , further comprising forming pelleted minerals under pressure, wherein the mineral mixture comprises the pelleted minerals.

8. The method of claim 1 , further comprising forming the pelleted minerals free of a binder.

9. A method of forming a weatherized mineral mixture, comprising:

spraying a flowable digestible fat over a mineral mixture to form a protective layer over a first portion of the mineral mixture, wherein a second portion of the mineral mixture is substantially free of the protective layer;

spraying an oil over the mineral mixture portions to incorporate the second portion onto the protective layer overlying the first portion.

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising rotating the mineral mixture in a vessel and spraying the flowable digestible fat over the rotating mineral mixture.

1 1. The method of claim 10, further comprising spraying the oil over the rotating mineral mixture.

12. The method of claim 9, further comprising heating the digestible fat to at least 140 °F to form the flowable digestible fat for spraying.

13. The method of claim 9, wherein the first portion of the mineral mixture comprises pelleted minerals and the second portion comprises trace minerals.

14. A weatherized mineral mixture comprising mineral mixture particles with a protective layer, the protective layer comprising a fat, and wherein the

weatherized mineral mixture is free of salts of fatty acids.

15. The product of claim 14, wherein the weatherized mineral mixture further comprises a mineral oil layer atop the protective layer.

16. The product of claim 14, wherein the weatherized mineral mixture further comprises loose minerals between the protective layer and the mineral oil layer.

17. The product of claim 14, wherein the mineral mixture comprises at least pelleted minerals formed under pressure.

18. The product of claim 17, wherein the pelleted minerals are free of a binder.

19. A method of providing livestock animals with free-choice minerals, comprising:

providing the livestock animals with a weatherized mineral mixture formed of a mineral mixture coated with a digestible fat protective layer, wherein the weatherized mineral mixture is free of salts of fatty acids and wherein digestible fatty acid and the minerals in the mineral mixture are absorbed by the digestive system of the livestock animal.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the weatherized mineral mixture comprises minerals at the outside of the protective layer, and wherein the loose minerals are available for absorption substantially upon ingestion of the weatherized mineral mixture.

Description:
WEATHERIZED MINERALS AND METHODS OF MAKING AND USING SAME

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Implementations provide weatherized minerals with a digestible protective coating and methods of making and using the weatherized minerals in free- choice mineral applications.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Free-choice minerals are generally loose minerals placed in an open container in pasture. Livestock animals, such as beef and dairy cattle, consume the free-choice minerals intermittently while grazing in pasture. When the free- choice minerals are exposed to environmental factors such as wind and rain, loss may occur. Wind may blow away the minerals or rain may cause trace minerals to leech from the mineral mixture. In some cases, when the minerals are exposed to rain, the minerals become wet and may cake-up preventing flow.

[0003] Free-choice minerals may be protected from wind and rain by forming a first protective soap coating over cores and a second protective coating over the soap coating. The soap is generally formed by adding a metal oxide to the minerals and then reacting the metal oxide with a fatty acid. This process of forming soap may be problematic because reacting the metal oxide provided on or in the minerals with the fatty acid or petrolatum may result in inconsistent or incomplete hydrolysis, which may result in the coated particles sticking or caking. The second protective coating, such as petrolatum, is applied over the soap coating. However, prior to applying the protective coating, the soap-coated particles generally require dusting to prevent caking or sticking of the otherwise sticky, non-flowing soap-coated particles.

[0004] Coating minerals with multiple protective layers as provided above can be problematic because the minerals may remain protected within the digestive system of the livestock animal and may not be digested or absorbed. In addition, petrolatum is a non-digestible substance and provides no benefit to the animal. Observing a livestock animal ingesting these protected minerals may also be misleading for a farmer or a nutritionist that believes the livestock animal is benefiting from ingesting the protected free-choice minerals, when the livestock animal is not actually receiving the intended benefits.

SUMMARY

[0005] Implementations herein address the problems above by providing weatherized or weather-protected mineral mixture products that include a protective layer of fat, such as a digestible fat, as well as methods of making and using the weatherized mineral mixture products.

[0006] In certain implementations, a method of forming a weatherized mineral mixture free of salts of fatty acids, e.g., soap, includes heating a fat and spraying a mineral mixture with the heated fat to form a protective layer over the mineral mixture.

[0007] In another implementation, a method of forming a weatherized mineral mixture involves spraying a flowable digestible fat over a mineral mixture to form a protective layer over a first portion of the mineral mixture. A second portion of the mineral mixture is substantially free of the protective layer. The method continues by spraying an oil over the mineral mixture portions to incorporate the second portion onto the protective layer overlying the first portion.

[0008] In yet another implementation, a weatherized mineral mixture includes a mineral mixture with a protective layer formed over the mineral mixture that is composed of a fat and is free of salts of fatty acids.

[0009] In further implementations, a method of providing livestock animals with free-choice minerals includes providing the livestock animals with a weatherized mineral mixture formed of a mineral mixture coated with a fat, where the weatherized mineral mixture is free of salts of fatty acids and where minerals in the mineral mixture are absorbed by the digestive system of the livestock animal. DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0010] Fig. 1 illustrates a flow diagram of a production system for forming weatherized minerals, according to certain implementations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Weatherized minerals provided herein include a protective coating of fat surrounding mineral particles. The weatherized minerals may be formed by spraying digestible fats over mineral and nutrient particles. The protected minerals and nutrients may be weather-resistant, flowable and may have a shiny or wet appearance. In some implementations, a flowable oil coating such as mineral oil may coat the exterior of the fat-coated protected mineral particles. Livestock animals in pasture may ingest the protected minerals and the subsequent digestion or absorption of the fats and mineral particles may provide dietary benefits to the livestock animal that may otherwise not be realized using other forms of protected minerals with coatings of non-digestible material.

Accordingly, the digestible fat not only protects the minerals and nutrients from environmental factors such as wind, rain and snow, but also provides an energy source, unlike other forms of protected minerals that use non-digestible petrolatum.

[0011] Fats used to coat the minerals and nutrients may be in the form of high melting point fats that are substantially solid at room temperature. High melting point fats may include palm stearin, palm fat, palm stearin, coconut oil, lauric acid, palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, animal fats such as beef tallow and pork fat and combinations thereof. The high melting point fats may be digestible and may be known a free fatty acids or triglyceride fatty acids. High melting point fats may provide advantages over fats that are liquid at ambient temperatures due to the fat with a low melting point having a propensity to go rancid in the presence of minerals. Fats such as palm fat may be composed of at least 98 percent fat, and may include combinations of one or more of palmitic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid. For example, the digestible fat may include palmitic acid between about 40 to 75 percent; between about 40 and 55 percent; between about 55 to 70 percent with the balance including one or a combination of stearic and oleic acid. In some implementations, other fats such as unsaturated fats may be provided in the weatherized mineral composition. Other high melting point and digestible fat sources may be used in accordance with the present disclosure and are not limited to those enumerated herein. In some implementations, the fats used in the weatherized minerals may be free or substantially free of non-digestible petrolatum.

[0012] As discussed herein, mineral particles may include minerals and nutrients such as mineral mixtures of macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, minerals including macrominerals and trace minerals, pelleted minerals and combinations. Macronutrients may include dicalcium phosphate, salt, magnesium oxide and calcium carbonate. In some implementations, magnesium oxide may be provided as a mineral. Loose minerals and nutrients, such as in the form of loose trace minerals, may be included as a portion of the mineral particles. The mineral particles generally may be provided in the form of mineral mixtures including mixtures of various combinations of the enumerated mineral particles. For example, mineral mixtures may include mineral pellets, high salt formulas, salt, dicalcium phosphate, magnesium oxide, calcium carbonate (e.g., limestone) and combinations thereof. The mineral mixtures may also include loose trace minerals, flavor enhancers and colorants such as iron oxide. In some

implementations, the mineral particles and mineral mixtures may be free flowing and/or may be free of molasses. In addition, the mineral mixtures may be free or substantially free of soap forming metal oxides such as calcium oxide and magnesium oxide, discussed below.

[0013] Mineral pellets within the mineral particles and mineral mixtures may be mixtures of trace minerals and grain or grain components (e.g., wheat, wheat middlings, corn, cracked corn, barley, oats, and grain meals) in crumbled or pelleted form. The mineral pellets may be derived from larger, cylindrical pellets that may be broken apart or crumbled to sizes suitable for free-choice mineral applications. The larger, cylindrical pellets may be formed under high pressure causing the components to bind together without requiring a liquid binder such as molasses. However, some molasses may be provided in the mineral pellets. The mineral pellets may incorporate trace minerals, which may prevent separation of such trace minerals from the mineral mixture. The mineral pellets may be similar in size to the particle sizes of salt, dicalcium phosphate and limestone particles that are used in the mineral mixture (e.g., about 500 microns or about the size of pretzel salt particles). The mineral pellets generally may be free-flowing pellets that may be free of added fats. As a result, the mineral pellets may be easily mixed with the other components of the mineral mixture without additional processing as with some prior art weatherized mineral cores.

[0014] In some implementations, loose minerals may be provided in addition to the mineral pellets when the mineral profile of the mineral pellets lacks or includes a lower amount of required nutrients for a livestock animal. For example, beef cattle may require different minerals and nutrients compared to goats and the loose minerals (such as trace minerals, macro minerals or both) may be added to the mineral pellets to supplement the mineral mixture.

[0015] In additional implementations, high salt formulas may be used in the mineral mixture without mineral pellets.

[0016] In further implementations, the mineral particles and mineral mixtures may be free or substantially free of certain metal oxides (such as calcium oxide and magnesium oxide) or sodium hydroxide that may result in the hydrolysis of the fats (e.g. fatty acid) forming the protective coating. In such implementations, formation of salts of fatty acids (i.e., soap) may be substantially prevented. In alternative implementations, metal oxides such as magnesium oxide may be included in the mineral mixture as a nutrient, but due to the use of high melting point fats such as triglycerides, the high melting point fats generally slowly react with the metal oxide when the fat is in a flowable state, and is non-reactive upon solidifying. In such implementations, formation of salts of fatty acids may be substantially prevented. In addition or alternatively, the mineral particles and mineral mixtures may be free of fatty acids and soaps prior to spray coating, described below. Providing a soap-free finished weatherized mineral product may provide a more digestible coating and may enable the minerals and nutrients to be absorbed and/or digested.

[0017] In yet further implementations, the fat-coated mineral particles and mineral mixtures may be coated with an additional liquid coating, such as a mineral oil coating. The liquid outer coating may cause fines such as loose minerals to be incorporated on the outside of the fat-coated mineral particles. This may provide a weatherized mineral product with a reduced amount of fines and a larger percentage of fat coated particles compared to a weatherized mineral product without the additional liquid coating. In this implementation, the fines adhered to the outside of the fat-coated particles may be readily available for absorption prior to the breakdown or digestion of the fat coating. In addition or in

combination with mineral oil, the additional liquid coating may be provided with molasses, distillers solubles or other ingestible tacky, non-caking liquids that facilitate binding fines to the outside of the fat-coated mineral particles.

[0018] Fig. 1 illustrates a flow diagram of a production system 100 for forming weatherized minerals and nutrients according to some implementations. In Fig. 1 , one or more fats, such as palm fat or coconut oil are provided in a vessel 1 10. The fat, which may be substantially solid at room temperature, may be heated in the vessel 1 10 to form a flowable oil 1 15. In some implementations, the vessel 1 10 may hold the flowable oil 1 15 at a temperature of about 40° F, at about 160° F, or between about 140° F to about 160° F or above.

[0019] The flowable oil 1 15 may be transferred by a pump 120 to a control valve 130 for controlling the flow of the flowable oil 1 15 to a spray nozzle 140. Upon reaching the spray nozzle 140, the flowable oil 1 5 may be sprayed into a mixer 150 holding the mineral particles and mixtures described above. As the mixer 150 rotates the sprayed, heated flowable oil 1 15 forms a coating over the mineral particles and mixtures. Spraying the heated oil into the mixer holding the mineral mixture may provide a more uniformly or evenly coated protective layer over mineral mixture compared to other methods that involve pouring petrolatum in a mixer or the sequential application of a metal oxide followed by pouring petrolatum to produce a soap reaction. The oil coating may harden or dry and provide free-flowing, fat-coated particles. In some implementations, the fat- coated particles may not be tacky, and therefore applying a dusting agent may be unnecessary, while in other implementations, a dusting agent may be applied In further examples, the flowable oil 1 15 may be free of soap-forming

components such as sodium hydroxide and metal oxides. Accordingly, the protected mineral mixture may be free of or at least substantially free of salts of fatty acids (e.g., soap).

[0020] The coated mineral mixture exiting the mixer 150 may be provided as a weatherized mineral mixture. In some implementations, the fat coating forming the weatherized mineral mixture may form about 2 percent of the total weight of the weatherized mineral mixture.

[0021] Further processing of the coated mineral mixture may involve applying a liquid coating such as mineral oil to the fat-coated mineral mixture. Referring to FIG. 1 , a vessel 160 holding the liquid coating 170 may be transferred via a separate pump 180 and valve 190 to the spray nozzle 140. The liquid coating 170 may be sprayed into the mixer 150 holding the coated mineral mixture. As the mixer 150 rotates, the liquid coating 170 may be applied to the fat-coated mineral mixture as an outer coating. In further implementations, the liquid coating may be heated prior to spray coating to provide a more flowable liquid, such as for higher melting point liquid coatings.

[0022] In some implementations, the coated mineral mixture without the outer liquid coating may yield a certain amount of fines including loose trace minerals and macro minerals that are not incorporated into the fat-coated particles of the weatherized mineral mixture in the mixer 150. Surprisingly, it has been found that by spraying the coated mineral mixture in the mixer 150 with the liquid coating 170, particularly mineral oil, the fines are incorporated onto the coated mineral mixture. The liquid coating 170 may thus facilitate binding of the fines to the fat coated mineral mixture, and the liquid coating may further form an outer coating over an inner coating of the fat-coated mineral mixture with the fines of trace minerals and macro minerals arranged between the coating layers. In some implementations, the coated mineral mixture includes an inner coating formed of a of fat that comprises 2 percent by weight of the mineral mixture, and the liquid coating forming the outer coating may be provided in a range between about 0.5 percent to about 2 percent by weight of the mineral mixture. In addition, the liquid coating 170 may enhance shine or may give the coated product a wet look. Generally, the liquid coating 70 does not impede digestion of the digestible fatty acid coating.

[0023] In some implementations, the system 100 may maintain the flowable oil 1 15 in a heated state until the flowable oil 1 15 exits the spray nozzle 140. For example, once the oil is heated (e.g., heated in the vessel 1 10, prior to reaching the vessel 1 10, or both), the heated flowable oil 1 15 transfers through the system 100 while being maintained at a temperature of at least 140° F, such as by using insulated conduits or by heating the various components of the system 100. Maintaining the system 100 in a heated state may be beneficial for oils that do not flow at room temperature such as the digestible fats provided herein.

[0024] In use, the weatherized minerals provided herein, with or without the liquid coating 170, may be offered to livestock animals as free-choice minerals in an open container. It has been found that the weatherized minerals are wind resistant due to the fat coating adding bulk to the mineral particles and mixtures. In addition, the fat coating sheds water dramatically, thereby protecting the minerals from environmental factors such as rain and snow. In some

implementations, the additional coating may shed water. In addition, the weatherized minerals exhibit anti-caking properties after being wetted.

[0025] When the weatherized minerals are ingested by livestock animals and pass through their digestive tract, any trace or macro minerals atop the fatty acid coating are digested and absorbed, and upon breakdown or digestion of the fat, the underlying minerals and nutrients within the mineral mixture are digested and absorbed, thereby providing vitamins and nutrients to benefit to the livestock animal. In addition, the fat coating over the mineral mixture is digestible and therefore adds an energy source for the livestock animal. In addition, in some implementations, no petroleum by-products are consumed by the animal ingesting the weatherized minerals provided herein. However, even when the additional liquid coating is provided as mineral oil, such weatherized mineral products may provide benefits to the animal due to the fines adhering to the outside of the fat-coated particles via the mineral oil coating, making the fines available for absorption or digestion substantially upon ingestion.

[0026] In some implementations, liquid ingredients such as molasses and other organic liquid byproducts typically used as a palatant (e.g., to provide odor and taste) may not be used in the methods of making the weatherized minerals. This may reduce caking of the mineral mixture within the mixer, associated

equipment, and may reduce tackiness of the final product. For example, molasses generally increases caking and may be difficult to mix with the mineral particles and mixtures.

[0027] The following example provides weatherized mineral mixtures, which are illustrative and not limiting.

Γ00281 Example

[0029] Varying levels of mineral oil were provided as the liquid coating over the fat-coated mineral particles and mixtures. Each of the weatherized mineral mixtures tested included 2 percent palm fat (e.g., palm fat with 65 percent palmitic acid) fat coating and 0 percent to 1.5 percent mineral oil outer coating in 0.5 percent increments.

[0030] In a twin shaft paddle mixer, the dry ingredients including iron oxide and trace minerals were mixed for one minute. The heated palm fat was pumped to nozzles positioned to spray the palm fat in the mixer. The nozzles were steam purged while the mixer mixed the fat-coated particles for between about 30-45 seconds. Using the nozzles, mineral oil was sprayed into the mixer containing the fat-coated particles and mixed for one minute. [0031] Surprisingly, there was a significant improvement in appearance as the level of mineral oil increased. The most dramatic improvements were between 0 percent and 0.5 percent and surprisingly between 1.0 percent and 1.5 percent. The 0 percent mineral oil weatherized mineral product looked dry and dusty. As the level of mineral oil increased to 0.5 percent and above, the apparent fines level decreased. At .5 percent mineral oil, the appearance of fines essentially disappeared, which was unexpected. Providing a liquid coating such as mineral oil after applying the fat coating to the mineral mixture results in incorporation of the fines, which may provide a more desirable product as the incorporated fines on the outside of the fat-coated particles may be prevented from otherwise being carried away by wind.

[0032] Although the present disclosure provides references to preferred embodiments, persons skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.