Turning commodities into products

 

For years now, Farmlands has been helping shareholders to fill the feed gap and maximise their yield by investing in compound feed mills to deliver the best possible solutions in a dynamic environment.

 

Farmlands' mills are based at Winton in Southland and Rolleston in Canterbury. They utilise shareholder-produced grains and legumes combined with the knowledge of our expert nutrition team to develop a wide number of feed solutions. These range from bagged equine and poultry feed to bulk custom dairy blends.

For our shareholders the economies of scale delivered by Farmlands' network mean our in-field teams can deliver both cost-effective pricing and technical solutions, no matter what the farm objectives may be.

Compound feed mills process and blend commodity inputs together in a way which delivers benefits for the end consumer. Just as farmers are increasingly opening their gates to the public, customers benefit from a mill visit but for those of you that are unable to tour a Farmlands mill – here's a little insight into the attributes of a compound feed mill.

 

 

Ingredient storage and processing

 

  • They have to store a range of base feed commodities so need lots of silos and/or bunkers.
  • Wholegrains have to be processed to maximise their utilisation by ruminants.
  • Dry processing can create fines and flour which may limit intake and irritate stock, equipment and people in the dairy shed – pressing the ingredient into a pellet traps the fine material and stops it causing problems.

 

 

Producing compound feeds

 

  • Mills operate most efficiently with long runs of a single product.
  • Each batch is made of multiples of 1–1.5 tonne mixes – depending on the size of the mixer. Like a super-sized food blender, the mixers are very efficient and process times have been fine tuned to prevent over- or under-mixing. The result is a very accurate distribution of even the smallest ingredient.
  • Because the mix is pressed into pellets or nuts there is no risk of segregation during subsequent transport or storage.
  • The conditioner uses steam and pressure to soften the meal before it is forced through the press and formed into pellets.
  • Conditioners gelatinise the starch - softening it up so it helps bind the pellets together and increases digestibility.
  • Friction generates heat when the mash is forced through the die which helps to kill many of the bacteria which colonise grains and can cause deterioration during storage.

 

End consumable

  • Formulations have been developed to deliver the nutrients required by the target class of animal. Animals cannot select or reject different ingredients within a pelleted feed, so they are better than blends for delivering nutrients evenly each meal.

 

Plant and raw materials are routinely tested for salmonella to ensure feeds are safe. Pelleted feed typically has a longer shelf life than textured feeds because many microbes have been killed by the heat and pressure and the surface area for spoilage organisms is much smaller.