Innovation advances the link between feed, the circular economy [VIDEO]

Michaela Braun, senior liquid systems and sales specialist with Novus, explores how feed production eliminates waste in food systems.

Michaela Braun, senior liquid systems and sales specialist with Novus and panelist at the upcoming Feed Mill of the Future Conference, joins the Chat to discuss how feed manufacturing technology, such as near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR), will enhance the feed industry's contribution to the circular economy.

Transcription of Feed Strategy Chat with Michaela Braun, senior liquid systems and sales specialist, Novus

Jackie Roembke, editor in chief, WATT Feed Brands and Feed Strategy: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Feed Strategy Chat. I’m your host, Jackie Roembke, editor in chief of WATT Feed Brands and Feed Strategy magazine.

This edition of Feed Strategy Chat is brought to you by the Feed Mill of the Future Conference. This half-day event will bring together leading feed industry experts to examine emerging feed mill technologies. The conference will be held on January 30 at IPPE 2024. It is produced by Feed Strategy and Feed & Grain, and is organized in partnership with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA). To learn more about the 2024 edition of the  Feed Mill of the Future Conference, visit

Today we’re joined by Michaela Braun, Novus’ senior liquid systems and sales specialist. She’s here to discuss how feed manufacturing is supporting sustainability and the circular economy.

Michaela Braun, senior liquid systems and sales specialist, Novus: I'm doing well. How are you doing?

Roembke: Great. Thank you for being here. But let's get right into it. How can feed manufacturers leverage technology and innovation in food production to minimize waste and enhance the circularity of resources?

Braun: Yeah, I think there's a lot of ways that the feed mill actually does a great job of this already. We use a lot of byproducts. For example, we are using stuff like bakery meal, which is a byproduct of the human food industry. So I think we're doing things like that already. But I think that there's also technological advancements that are happening every day, right? Our phones or computers or tablets change often and we're trying to keep up with that too in this industry.

I think things like in-line NIR and the feed mills are going to come into play here before too long, we've already had them around and been using them. But I think having some of that real-time nutrient data is gonna start to become more and more prevalent in the feed mill. And I think it's going to be a great thing when we start using them across the board.

Roembke: In your opinion, is this emphasis on circularity influencing feed formulations? Describe the specific challenges or opportunities.

Braun: I think that there is a way that sustainability and circularity does impact formulation decisions. Now I'm 100% a feed mill person, so I can't speak across the board for nutritionists, but I think it's important that when we think about things like feed additives, or something that's going to be another cost in that diet, that is such a wide market that has so many different options that nutritionists have to choose from all the time. So I think the value portion — or how we're evaluating value — which is going to depend on each production system and each nutritionist. There are focal points what they need out of those animals at that certain time.

I think the value proposition and each product that we're including in diets is going to be really important. Making sure that everything that we are putting in those diets is coming back in the form of animal production; and making sure that those animals are performing as best as they can and we see what we want from them as well.

Roembke: With your background in feed manufacturing, and your position with Novus, how do you see feed manufacturing and feed additive technologies intersecting to help support sustainable food production?

Braun: The easiest way that I can explain that is probably the NIR again. Our technology is advancing. I think getting real-time data from incoming ingredients, you know, things like soybean meal or bakery meal, like I mentioned, or even dried distillers grains, those ingredients fluctuate so much in their nutrient content, that being able to know how closely we're matching what that nutrition is formulated to: Are we meeting those targets?

I think that's going to actually come into play even more as technology advances and we get kind of a better grip on it and things that we can use in our automation. If we could keep automation rolling, while we also have some of that formulation and nutrient data coming in at the same time and being able to make decisions in the middle of a run. 

I think that getting the opportunity to make decisions quicker with the technology and the nutrient data, I think is going to be a big game changer for this industry.

Don't miss the panel discussion, "How circular economics reduce waste in feed production, enhance animal nutrition," at the Feed Mill of the Future Conference.

Roembke: Right now, are there any emerging trends or innovations that you have your eye on that you think will enhance these efforts?

Braun: That's always a tough question — what trend are people leaning toward? Or are the innovations that are coming? I think probably the thing that I enjoy about my job the most is that I get to get out in the field and see the feed mills. What I really see in those feed mills is everyone's doing something different. I would call that innovation in real time because it's the same process, but everyone's doing it a little bit differently.

I think probably the the thing that amazes me the most about this industry that's unique to some is that we are learning so much from each other at the same time. The way that you get to the "doing something a little bit different," you saw so and so doing it this way, and you tweak it a little bit, and then you see another way. I think that's going to be something that's really important in something like sustainability, where we're kind of trying to find our identity already right now with how are we going to approach this, what's going to be focused. And I think learning from each other is going to be one of our biggest strengths because our industry does that incredibly well already.

I think that's going to be probably the most beneficial thing I could say. But hard to pick one emerging trend because I feel like I see so many all the time.

Roembke: Great, thank you.

If you'd like to hear more about Michaela's boots-on-the-ground insights into these developments in the feed industry, please join us for the Feed Mill of the Future Conference where she will be participating the panel discussion on circularity. If you'd like more information about registering for the conference and to review the agenda, please visit

Thanks again, Michaela, and thanks to you for tuning in.



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