The swine feed mill under construction in Hull, Iowa is on schedule, with much of the outer structure of the main building and bins finished. The feed mill, belonging to Hull coop and being constructed at a cost of USD$4 million, is on target for competition in May of this year.
The feed mill which will be dedicated to mixing swine - finishing feed, will increase the coop's productivity of swine feeds. A dedicated swine feed mill will save them both time and money, which is currently spent flushing the feed mill of feed ingredients from other feed formulations, not wanted in the swine feed.
The reasons the coop decided to build the new feed mill included:
1. The coop is there to service its members, and building a second feed mill is part of that commitment
2. Financially it is well within the coop's capacity, whose balance sheet is very strong.
3. Improvement in efficiencies will make the coop very cost effective, and with the additional capacity allow it to grow in the future.
Feed department manager, Ken Nielsen said "We'll take 60 percent of existing volume of feed (capacity) out of the old mill and bring it up here. The new mill will have capacity to mix 60 tons of hog feed an hour, or 600 tons per day." The current mill can mix only about 30 tons per hour.
Nielsen stated that the coop aims to have both feed mills, old and new, operate at full production. "It's to the point that our business has grown so much we can't get everything done," he said. "So we decided to make (the new feed mill) swine-specific."
Brian Zoet, a local swine producer and a coop board member, said the new mill will make the workload easier on the employees, too, and will get the feed out more efficiently for customers.
Nielsen, who has 30 years of experience working at the coop — the past 10 as the feed department manager — said the new mill will employ an even higher level of technology than the current one, which has been upgraded over the years.
"We used to write every order out by hand and make it by hand," he recalled. "Now it's just a matter of plugging (the feed blend recipe) into the computer in the office and the mill makes it," Nielsen said.
"It used to be all air gates. Now we have a big dial where the gauge used to be. It's pretty accurate."
Hull Coop manager Ed Westra said the new feed mill will start production at 50-percent of capacity. He said it is even more sophisticated than the current mill.
"One guy will be watching four computer screens, (monitoring) soy meal protein and other ingredients we use to make up swine diets," he said. "We should be getting feed out of there in May," Westra said.
See below for some progress photos of the construction of the feed mill.
For more photos see their website: http://www.hullcoop.com/newmill