Automation Feeds The Bottomline

June/July 2010 | Feature | By Jackie Roembke

It's a tough time in agriculture right now. It's a mature market place — one wrought by unpredictability — and in the words of Alan Wessler, vice president of MFA’s feed division, "they're not making more land and they're not growing more producers."  Competition is stiff. To combat the forces beyond its control, MFA Inc. has made it mission to make customer service part of its culture; and after 96 years, MFA Inc. has garnered quite a reputation for accomplishing this feat. 

"When you...

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2010 Grain Testing Trends

April/May 2010 | Feature | By Jackie Roembke

The cold, wet harvest of 2009/10 brought with it, not only handling problems, but increased incidents of vomitoxins, a mycotoxin which is a naturally occurring chemicals produced by a variety of molds; and they will continue to be a thorn in the side of elevators into the future.

“It’s been an unusual year indeed,” says Paul Pfeiffer, territory managers — grain & milling, Neogen, says. “In some areas, elevators are lucky to get one out of 10 trucks with an acceptable level in some areas.”

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Pest Control: Fumigation 101

April/May 2010 | Feature | By Jackie Roembke

If your firm has used fumigants, you’re no stranger to fumigation management plans (FMP). A FMP is a written record providing specific logistical, performance, and contact information to help "characterize" the fumigation of a commodity storage site. Designed to ensure legal and effective fumigation, FMPs ensure the safety of the applicators, the storage facility employees, the surrounding community, and the environment. Consequently, FMPs must be enforced from within each organization...

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Granulation: A Novel Method to Improve the Bulk Density and Flowability of Distillers Grains with So

April/May 2010 | Feature | By Klein Ileleji

The growth in fuel ethanol production has dramatically increased the production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a granular bulk product obtained from the non-fermentable residues of corn during ethanol bioprocessing using the dry grind production process.
For every bushel of corn converted into ethanol — a third which constitutes the unfermentables — is dried and sold as DDGS. Since DDGS is primarily used as a feed ingredient for livestock diet rations (beef cattle, swine...

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Turning Opportunity Into Profit

April/May 2010 | Feature | By Jackie Roembke

On occasion, opportunity falls into your lap; other times you have to seek it out. Such is the case with the evolution of JBS United Inc.’s western Illinois grain division. From successfully adopting a continuous improvement program to seeking out a unique partnership with a local feed mill, this grain terminal has not stopped innovating.

In 1998, Sheridan, IN-based JBS United Inc., an international feed nutrient and grain marketing corporation, acquired a rail terminal in Griggsville, IL....

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Infrastructure’s impact on grain flow

January 2010 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

Grain transportation involves much more than moving commodities from Point A to Point B. To make efficient transportation happen, many logistical intricacies must synchronize; however, it’s no secret that the foundation of our nation’s transportation delivery system — our infrastructure — is in need of special attention. As international markets catch up with our ability to handle and export grain, capital investments need to be made to keep the United States competitive in the global...

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CO2 Monitoring: a New Grain Management Tool

January 2010 | Feature | By Elise Schafer

The 2009 harvest, characterized as unusually late, wet and followed by a warmer-than-average winter, has raised grain quality concerns among grain handlers, processors and users across the country. Over the past decade, grain quality has been generally good and taken for granted, but faced with today’s grain condition challenges, grain elevator operations managers are looking for better ways to monitor their stored grain.

A joint research effort by Kansas State University and Purdue...

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Looking to the future: Observations from the millwright’s vantage point

January 2010 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

It’s the beginning of a new decade, and everyone — in every industry — is wondering what lies ahead. After facing the unique challenges posed by 2009’s  later-than-usual, wetter-than-average — and overall  record — harvest, elevator operators and feed manufacturers have been forced to take a critical look at their operations.

Given their insider perspective on the needs of the industry, FEED & GRAIN spoke with leaders in the millwright community to gain insight into the issues critical to...

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AFIA leaders reflect on the state of feed industry

January 2010 | Feature |

Feed industry prepares for better conditions in 2010

By Joel G. Newman

We all know the economy in the United States and around the world was affected profoundly by the economic turmoil of the last one to two years. We likely know family members, friends or others in our communities who have struggled mightily in these times.

The feed industry has not been immune to the difficult conditions. The dramatic escalation of corn prices and other commodity prices in the first half of 2008, combined...

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A personal test of mettle . . . and concrete

January 2010 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty

Every day we juggle career obligations, family schedules and other responsibilities in an effort to keep our professional and personal lives humming along at peak efficiency. Juggling schedules is a concept Chad Allen, manager of the Milling and Grain Division for Allen’s Hatchery Inc., and Allen Family Foods, Seaford, DE, understands in spades.

“We had quite a lot to accomplish in a short period of time,” says Allen. “In order to take advantage of certain marketing opportunities, we had...

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No Room For Compromise

October/November 2009 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty

You won’t find it written on plaques hanging on the wall. Nor will it be emblazoned on letterhead or notepads lying on a desk. However “it” makes all the difference in how Vita Plus Corp. goes to market and is the key driver to its success.

“It” is the simple phrase “employee-owned,” that appears underneath the company logo. Although it holds a subordinate position in the graphic sense, it is the dominant point of light which guides the company and is the bedrock of its operating...

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Capturing value, creating new markets

August/September 2009 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty

Two friends share a beverage after a long day and during the discussion one of them asks, “I wonder if there’s a way to get more value out of my wheat midds?” On the surface, it seems like an innocent query to a common problem faced by wheat processors.

However, that simple question served as the genesis of an idea which has such far-reaching implications for processors, feed manufacturers, researchers, livestock operators, and even those involved in the economic development arena.

If you...

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Energy auditing: The pathway to efficiency

August/September 2009 | Feature | Elise Schafer

Energy auditing may sound like an intimidating process, but following the guidelines provided by the EPA's Energy Star program makes it easy to decrease energy consumption and begin reaping the benefits of energy efficiency.

In today's tough economy, a main objective for many companies has become to decrease operating costs without decreasing production or compromising the quality of their product. With several fixed expenses, such as freight rates, the cost of raw materials and payroll,...

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Putting A Price Tag On Quality

June/July 2009 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty and Elise Schafer

"Value-added."

We read and hear that phrase so many times that it's become part of our daily vernacular.

However, the problem with this phrase is that it is often difficult to define "value" to the end user. In simple terms, however, once money finds its way back into our pockets, only then can a product or service truly considered as having added value.

Is the expectation any different in the feed and grain industry vs. the consumer retail arena? Absolutely not.

Some would contend...

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Taking a New Look at Grain Storage

January 2009 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty

The newly-launched Integris USA, LLC and its parent company, Calgary-based OPIsystems Inc., have an ambitious goal for U.S. commercial grain handlers and grain producers: Change your thinking about stored grain.

OPIsystems has sold its “Advanced Grain Management” systems throughout the world for more than two decades, and OPIsystems president and CEO Dave Crompton says that experience is what convinced him a sea change regarding stored grain was in order.

“All the sophisticated management...

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