Jamaica Broilers Group (JBG), is investing USD$7.5 million to build six grain silos at its Best Dressed Feed Mill in a move aimed at better positioning the company for exportsing its feed as well as cutting down on feed production costs.
The feed mill, the largest in the Caribbean, is located in Old Harbour, St Catherine, Jamaica, and has a production capacity of over 260,000 metric tonnes of pelleted feed per year.
The new grain silos will boost storage capacity to approximately 36,000 tonnes from the current 12,000 tonnes, said Christopher Levy, the president and CEO of JBG.
"Basically, this is going to be 36,000 tonnes of storage, which is a significant increase for us. It allows us to be more efficient in the handling of our coarse grains and have the flexibility in terms of what we buy, when we buy and who we buy it from," Levy said.
He declined to state the savings the company expects to realise from the investment, instead noting that the project "moves us into a much more competitive landscape" and positions it to respond to market demand.
"What we will be able to do is take advantage of opportunities on the market. More and more, we are seeing opportunities to export animal feed and to do that, you would have to be tight on your numbers, so this presents us with a tremendous opportunity," Levy said.
At the moment the company is currently receiving imported grain to Port Esquivel where it is stored at the company's warehouse there before being transported to their feed mill for use. The new grain silos at the feed mill site will greatly improve operational efficiency.
"When we are making the feed on demand, we pull from that large storage area back to the mill and that really is double handling. The grain silos will really improve our operational efficiency because we won't be handling the grain twice," John Carberry, JBG's assistant vice-president in charge of energy and mill operations, explained.
The grain silos will reduce the cost of transportation as JBG will be able to store more grain, and will in turn require fewer deliveries.
"With more storage space, we can perhaps use other ingredients other than the ones we primarily use," said Carberry.
"From time to time, world market prices ebb and flow and you have other ingredients that you can use but we don't have the storage for them. So, sometimes when the price is low, if we only have storage for 10 tonnes, we can only buy 10 tonnes whereas if we had the storage we could have a better hedge against cost fluctuation," he said.
The new silos will also provide better ventilation and air flow than the warehouse currently used by the company, where product can only be kept in good condition for a few weeks. The new grain bins will have aeration tunnels that will reduce humidity and moisture inside the grain by pulling air through the facility.
"We will have improved quality because the silos are constructed specifically for the storage of grain," said Carberry.