The Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA) hosted its first media day on 15 February. The AFMA team and media from various agricultural publications toured the Meadow Feeds mill in Standerton. The day began with an introduction to the new Standerton mill, a facility that boasts the latest technology and optimal logistics, to improve efficiency in every aspect of production.
The Standerton mill was established in 2014 and was designed for efficient work flow. The mill specialises in producing poultry feed for the various dietary stages of broilers. As a subsidiary of Astral, Meadow Feeds in Standerton manufactures feed only for Astral’s in-house system, operating a dedicated supply to the various Astral farms. This in-house system makes the plant more efficient since specific rations are formulated for each farm to meet the high demand. For example, the Goldi processing plant alone processes 1,9 million chickens a week.
The mill was strategically located in Standerton due to the town’s proximity to Astral’s poultry farms in the region. Standerton is at the hub of the maize and soya growing region and was also positioned to benefit from the new oil seed crushing plant of the Cofco Group situated on the neighbouring property. There is no finished product bagging at the mill; bulk production only is in place, which also improves efficiency. The mill is designed for efficiency and its advanced technology has given it a processing capacity of 80 tons an hour or 40 000 tons a month.
Technology is the secret ingredient
The expanders and two-stage conditioners make the technology at this mill unique. The two-stage conditioning breaks down starch more efficiently and makes the feed more digestible. The expanders allow more feed to be processed from the same amount of raw material by acting like a pressure cooker expanding the raw material, and extracting more feed.
Because high temperatures are used in the expander, the mill now uses a post pelleting application (PPA) to replace enzymes lost during the cooking process.
PPA makes the addition of oil possible. The oil is added to the protein pellet for increased energy in the formula. Adding it last ensures that the pellet remains hard enough to keep its shape. It also lubricates the pellet for easy digestion by the chicken. The mill only uses two pelleters, each one delivering
40 tons an hour. The older mill in Delmas uses three pelleters and delivers a total of 45 tons an hour.
Feed produced at the Standerton mill is more cost efficient because the mill needs fewer labourers and production is streamlined. The mill employs 133 people, six days a week, on a 24 hour basis for production and deliveries. There are only 45 permanent employees.
Role of AFMA
De Wet Boshoff, Executive Director of AFMA, ended the day with a summary of the important role they play in the feed industry. He emphasised AFMA’s role in negotiating regulatory aspects with government and said the association functioned as the voice of the industry. AFMA also plays a role in setting an international standard for self-regulation in the industry. –Ursula Human, AgriOrbit