While many breakthroughs in animal feed manufacturing technology and processes come from research centers affiliated with agribusinesses like Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill, there are a number of academic institutions that conduct research on feed production equipment and processes to help foster innovations in industry.
For dry processing and handling professionals who work in animal feed, these facilities offer opportunities to test manufacturing processes, ingredients, and products, as well as serve as outlets for continuing education on technology, safety, management, and other operational concerns.
Here are a few of the world’s top feed production research centers gathered by the editors of Powder & Bulk Solids:
University of Saskatchewan – Canadian Feed Research Centre
Operated by the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources, the Canadian Feed Research Centre (CFRC) conducts research on processing low-value crops into high-value feed products, bioprocessing and biofuels co-products, and new feed additives. The center currently operates a lab scale, pilot scale, and industrial scale lines, as well as an analytical lab.
Lines at the site feature a range of sophisticated technology. CFRC’s fully automated industrial scale line is capable of processing 20 tn/hr of feed, including a 300HP pellet mill, conditioner, screener, liquid coating application equipment, bulk receiving, storage, and load-out assets, and process control systems, according to its website.
CFRC offers commercial firms batch manufacturing services for feed used in animal feeding and nutrition research studies, research on the impacts of equipment, process conditions and approaches, and various ingredients on costs and nutritional value of feed products. The center also rents its facility to companies to conduct proprietary research.
University of Illinois – Feed Technology Center
The University of Illinois and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences are investing $20 million to construct the new Feed Technology Center at the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center – South Farms in Urbana. Once operational, the center will research animal management, nutrition, and production.
Since the project was announced in November 2018, several industry leaders have stepped up to provide technology for the site. In October 2019, Bühler Group announced it was giving over $1 million of milling, grinding, mixing, and pelleting equipment to the Feed Technology Center. This July, dry bulk solids handling technology firm Vortex Global said it plans to donate slide gates and diverters that will optimize operations within the site.
The center will be able process 8000 tn/yr of small-batch research feed products to support the livestock, poultry, and pet feed industries once work is completed. U of I will also offer hands on learning and career development opportunities at the site for its students.
Kansas State University – The O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center
Opened in 2013, K-State’s O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Center provides training, to students and industry professionals on feed safety, quality assurance, and feed processing technology, and researches new feed manufacturing processes and feed products.
Described as the “world’s leading education facility for feed manufacturing and safety,” the site includes a bio-safety level 2 teaching and research mill, enabling it to carry out research on pathogens like E. coli, the Kansas State University Foundation said in a recent article on the center.
A number of technologies were installed in the facility’s feed mill, including dust collection equipment, dual batching systems, and pelleting systems, according to ASI Industrial, a construction and design firm that worked on the project.
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences – Feed Research Institute
Located in the Chinese capital of Beijing, the Feed Research Institute (FRI) researches feed processing technology, along with feed biotechnology, biochemical engineering and extraction, feed science, testing and safety, and feed economy. According to the institute’s website, its researchers have created innovations in micro-diet feed manufacturing for aquatic animals, feed processing code and quality tracing systems.
The institute also is researching manufacturing techniques to boost efficiency, quick test technology, and production technology for feed enzymes.
Northern Crops Institute – Feed Production Center
The Northern Crops Institute (NCI), a collaboration between North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana to support agriculture and value-added processing, established the Feed Production Center as a full-service facility to manufacture feeds, concentrates, supplements, and custom premixes.
Erected in 1990, the Fargo feed mill provides university students and continuing education participants with hands on training in feed production and researches feed mill management and feed manufacturing equipment.
NCI’s facility is capable of producing 60 tn/day of meal feed or 24 tn/day of pelleted feed, according to the institute. Technology installed at the site includes a Repete computer controller system, Bliss hammermill, Rosskamp two pair roller mill, and a California Pellet Mill with custom steam conditioner.