Outside, an 8-ft. by 8-ft. truck receiving pit handles minor bulk ingredients. The flush-floor dump handles 200-bushel capacity, fills a 10,000-bushel Schlagel round-bottom drag conveyor and delivers the product to a 10,000-bushel/hour receiving leg. Ingredients are discharged by a four-duct distributor on the leg that feeds to the hopper tanks, the ingredient bin distributor or to the soybean meal storage building’s fill conveyor.
Inside the mill, there are 18 ingredient bins for bulk ingredients providing up to 80 tons of storage per bin. Main ingredient bins are reclaimed back to the scale hoppers by Schlagel screw conveyors; large mineral bulk items are reclaimed to the scale hoppers by Easy Automation double-auger screw conveyors. The mill has three weigh hoppers and an Easy Automation microsystem, which utilizes 10 5.5-cubic-foot holding bins and four tote bag unloaders to deliver ingredients to the mixer via the weigh belt conveyor.
The site includes three liquid tanks: a 12,000-gallon fat tank, a 10,000-gallon choline tank and an 8,000-gallon methionine tank.
After being weighed in the scale hopper that is mounted with a load cell scales supplied by Southwest Scales, the ingredients are dumped into a 6-ton Scott Mfg. dual-ribbon twin-shaft mixer to create the finished feed. The mash is dropped into a surge hopper below the mixer where it is taken away by a 180-ton/hour Scott paddle drag conveyor. From there the feed moves to a Schlagel mash leg and either goes to an ingredient bin — if it’s a high-concentrate pre-mix ingredient — or to load-out bins, which is controlled by a Schlagel syncho-set distributor.
The feed load-out station contains six 30-ton load-out bins.
The mill runs one shift, six days a week. It is not constantly running at full capacity as the flow is broken up by the moving of grain and receiving of incoming ingredient trucks.
More layers, expand reach
Hickman’s plans to build more laying houses in the near future.
“We could actually triple our size with the capacity of this feed mill simply by adding hours of the day, increasing the shifts,” Billy explains. “Between layers and replacements, we can easily grow to about 15 million birds.”
The company aims to become a Southwest regional supplier of eggs, egg products and fertilizer.