“As our industry has become more efficient, those people who support us have become more efficient in their operations,” Sanderson Farms’ protein division manager Jack Smith says, “and we’ve made the necessary investments to be able to keep up.”
While most of the grain the Kinston feed mill will be using comes from the Midwest on 75-car unit trains on the Norfolk-Southern rail line, grain draw from local sources will supplement the rail ingredients when it is available.
During Phase I the high-speed rail unloading system will receive a 75-car unit train of corn every two weeks; Phase II, it will jump to one/week. Sanderson Farms’ rail receiving capacity is rated at 45,000 bushels/hour split between two legs — a rail leg and truck leg — with each leg rated at 22,500 bushels/hour.
A pre-engineered shed divides the multimode receiving area: on the outside of the shed, the rail unloads; on the inside of the shed, the truck bay receives materials into the dump pit. This setup allows operators to run railcars at the same time as trucks unload different ingredients.
After being unloaded, InterSystem drags and conveyors deliver the raw materials to the Hayes & Stolz elevators, and distribute them to their designated bin. The facility has three corn silos (two 230,000-bushel silos; one 65,000-bushel silo) for a total capacity of 525,000 bushels. Ingredients other than corn are fed to a 16-bin Hayes & Stolz turnhead distributor with 3,600 tons of storage capacity. The facility also has three pneumatic receiving bins holding 300 tons of ingredients.
The site also has four 12,000-, one 10,000- and four 8,000-gallon liquid tanks. Billingsley notes that this additional liquid storage allows employees to screen incoming ingredients before they are used.
“We do a lot of testing on incoming ingredients to make sure they’re of the highest quality and to ensure there’s no issue that might impact the quality of our feed manufacturing process,” Billingsley says.
Learning from experience
Drawing from best practices and lessons learned during previous feed mill constructions, Sanderson Farms has a strong handle on what works best within its feed manufacturing division. This is exemplified by the company’s standardization of machinery in all of its feed mills for training and consistency purposes. What’s unique to the Kinston facility is the company investment in automation.
From receiving to load-out, the Kinston feed mill is the first fully automated facility in Sanderson Farm’s feed manufacturing division. Powered by Beta Raven software, all plant operations are managed from the control room — or “the heart of the mill” as Smith describes it.
“We’re able to monitor every segment and every area of this mill,” Billingsley says. “You can’t manage what you can’t see, and in our control room we have staff watching over everything as long as the feed mill is running.”
In this feed mill, like the others, the process begins with the grinding processes where the whole grain corn is ground to specification in the CPM/Roskamp Champion hammermill: coarse corn for breeder feeds and fine corn for pellets for broiler feed. The facility has a 12-ton Cardinal scale for major ingredients; a 2-ton Cardinal minor scale for secondary ingredients; and a 20-bin CPM microsystem. After weighed up, ingredients move to a 12-ton Hayes & Stolz mixer. The mash then is delivered either to one of four 80-ton mash bins above the pellet mills for broiler feed, or directly to load-out for breeder feed. The mill’s batching capacity is rated at 216 tons/hour.
Feed meant for pelleting leaves the mash bin and is sent through the CPM conditioner, and then heads to the 9042 CPM pellet mill with a 600-hp motor and rated for 85 tons/hour. Once the feed has been pelleted, it enters into a 7’ by 52’ CPM cooler featuring a top and bottom deck with variable drives on a high-efficiency four-cyclone system. Once the feed passes through the cooler and the CPM crumbler, it is conveyed and elevated to the load-out bins.
Sanderson’s first automated load-out system is Beta Raven controlled.