• Mastercube Plus is a low inclusion natural pellet binder, designed to improve the efficiency of the whole milling process, maximise pellet quality and release nutritional space.
  • The inclusion of Mastercube Plus can help produce a high quality pellet at 75°C. However, when lignosulphonate is included or no pellet binder is added, temperatures of 85°C were required to produce pellets of similar quality. Lowering the temperature needed for pelleting helps the feed mill reduce energy and save cost.


  • Improved pellet quality and reduced fines can benefit animal performance and livestock uniformity by decreasing ingredient and nutrient segregation during transportation and through feed auger systems.
  • The reduction in fines reduces process loss and dust in the mill which can help improve mill hygiene.
  • Mastercube Plus is a low inclusion pellet binder composed of a synergistic blend of polysaccharide gums and mineral hardener. It is designed to improve the efficiency of the whole milling process and maximise pellet quality.



An independent trial was conducted by the Research Institute of Feed Technology, Germany, to assess the effectiveness of three trial groups on improving pellet quality. A commercially available broiler feed, containing 5% crude fat, was allocated to 1 of 3 trial groups (Table 1). The finished mixed feed (including pellet binder) was conditioned with steam and pure water at 75oC and 85 oC, pelleted using a 3.5 x 50 mm die at an approximate throughput of 249 kg/h, and pellets were then cooled on a conveyer belt cooler.

Table 1. Trial group allocation of pellet binder and pellet binder inclusion rate (kg/t).

Group Pellet binder Inclusion rate (kg/t)
NC Negative control – no pellet binder 0
MP Mastercube Plus 1
L Lignosulphonate 1

Pellet durability index (PDI) was measured at the press, at the end of the cooler and 2 hours after exiting the cooler. Pellet hardness was tested 2 hours after the cooling process and the day after pelleting. These various testing time points were chosen to demonstrate the effect of the pellet binders on the curing process.


Figure 1. Pellet durability index (PDI) when pelleting was performed at 75 oC (A) and 85 oC (B), tested using Pfost durability tester. Minimum PDI for broiler feed is 80% according to Dozier (2001).

Figure 2. Pellet hardness when pelleting was performed at 75 oC (A) and 85 oC (B), tested using Kahl hardness tester.

  • At 75°C pellets with Mastercube Plus had the highest PDI (Fig.1A). A higher PDI is associated with improved palatability and feed intake.
  • Pellets with lignosulphonate or without a pellet binder required a higher temperature of 85°C to achieve a PDI comparable with Mastercube Plus (Fig.1B). This may be associated with increased energy requirements and production costs.
  • When tested the day after pelleting, Mastercube Plus produced the hardest pellets, at both 75°C and 85°C, compared to the control and lignosulphonate groups (Fig.2A and Fig.2B). Increased pellet hardness reduces pellet breakages, meaning fewer fines which can help improve feed efficiency and increase growth rates, as well as helping to improve mill hygiene.
  • Overall, results indicate that a higher pelleting temperature or increased inclusion of lignosulphonate may be required to produce a pellet of similar quality compared to that achieved with Mastercube Plus (1 kg/t). This may increase production costs and take up valuable nutritional space within the feed formulation.