The mill typically makes eight feed changes a day. When the mill is preparing to manufacture one of its four formulations — Starter, Grower, Withdrawal 1 or Withdrawal 2 — grain is pulled from the silos into the Roskamp Champion hammermill. The ground corn then enters the mill tower, passes through the Champion Gyro Sifter Feed Cleaner, before it is batched using the Beta Raven Mill Master control system.
A 20-bin, two-scale Beta Raven micro system delivers the necessary ingredients to the formulation before it is sent to a 6-ton Hayes & Stolz mixer. If the order calls for pellets, the mash is then sent to the CPM Pellet Mill and CPM Double-Pass Conditioner, which is powered by a Cleaver-Brooks 500-hp boiler. After passing through the CPM Cooler and CPM 90-ton-capacity Crumbler, the feed is delivered to finished feed storage.
In addition, the facility has 2,860 total tons of finished feed storage using 20 bins feeding through two load-outs. The new feed mill produces 85 tons/hour.
Peco Foods utilizes two finished-feed load-out bays using a weigh lorry to load the trucks. The mill’s fleet consists of 10 feed bodies, which haul 365 loads/week of finished feed to 125 producer farms within a 70-mile radius of the site, and two reclaim trucks.
The Lake, MS, feed mill employs 10 full-time employees.
Speedy grain receiving
To entice local grain haulers and farmers, Peco Foods made sure to invest in an efficient scale house and unloading capacity.
A scale house greets trucks with full loads of grain at the entrance. All incoming corn is weighed in, probed and tested for moisture and aflatoxins.
“At receiving for new crop corn deliveries, we can unload trucks faster than we can run tests,” says Billy Perkins, plant manager - Lake, MS, Peco Foods. “We can scale a truck in, do a corn probe, pull a sample — it takes 10 minutes to test, but we can unload and have the truck back to the scale house in six to seven minutes. We don’t have trucks backed up in our yard because there’s nothing blocking the pit. Within 15 minutes, they are gone.
“The turnaround for local grain is a big plus for this mill,” Perkins says.
To meet production needs, the mill features 21,000 tons of corn storage; 2,400 tons of soy storage; and 19 dry bulk ingredient storage bins totaling 2,400 tons.
While corn is moved from the two large storage tanks using two Intersystems’ conveyors, soybean meal is moved using a Laidig unloader and circulation system. The mill uses BinMaster bin level indicators and micro motion sensors to monitor the condition inside the corn and soy silos.
The facility also features 54,000 gallons of liquid storage.
Planning for future demand
As part of Peco Foods’ vision for the future, the mill was outfitted with enough space to expand production.
“You just don’t add on to a slipform feed mill and have a smooth flowing mill,” Noland says, noting that the “dirt work” has already been laid to accommodate an additional 18,000 tons of storage. “Knowing this, we built the footprint big enough to accommodate machinery in order to double capacity should the need present itself.”
Within the design, the company made provisions in batching, mixing and pelleting to easily double the mill’s capacity to 17,000 tons/week by adding a second line.
“Management’s forward vision ensures the company isn’t limited in its ability to grow in the future,” McLaurin says.
In addition to the live operations in Sebastopol, Peco Foods operates two feed mills in Philadelphia and Bay Springs as part of those grow out divisions. The Lake, MS, feed mill, however, takes some of the pressure off the other mills as it feeds birds for all three divisions based on demand and specific formulations.
“At the root of it, if you’re going to raise chickens, you have to feed them,” Noland concludes. “The company’s flexibility in feed manufacturing, marketing and bird placement — which is largely based on its relationship with its growers — gives us a leg up on the competition.”