When three northwest Iowa cooperatives merged in 2015 to form Cooperative Farmers Elevator (CFE) headquartered in Ocheyedan, IA, the merger created an entity with 23 grain elevators and 10 feed mills. Those feed mills, producing a combined 850,000 tpy of beef, dairy, swine, and sheep feeds, were of particular concern to the newly-formed management team.
"We had a lot of older mills needing upgrading," says Steve Petersen, vice president-feeds for the new cooperative. Petersen had been with one of the three founding cooperatives for 25 years and had been with a premix manufacturer before that.
"Over the last four years, we've had an increasing focus on swine production," he continues, "with the opening of the new Seaboard hog processing plant in Sioux City (IA). The demand was there for more swine feed, so we opted to go ahead with a new feed mill dedicated to swine feed production."
CFE decided to build the $26 million mill on its property in Ocheyedan, where there was space for it adjacent to CFE's existing 5-million-bushel grain elevator, a fast source of corn for processing an estimated 70,000 bushels per day. Mike Lund, feed operations manager, notes that corn basis is favorable at Ocheyedan, and producers of soybean meal and distillers grain are located nearby.
To design and build the slipform concrete mill, CFE chose Younglove Construction, L.L.C., Sioux City, after taking bids and looking at a number of other feed mill projects built by bidders. "The project went very well under the circumstances," says Petersen. "We had a lot of weather issues with rain
Groundbreaking took place in May 2017. The slip was finished by November of that year. Equipment installation was done by December 2018, and the mill began feed production on Feb. 14, 2019.
Construction during that period included some work involving the adjacent elevator, most notably a 12,000-bph overhead Schlagel enclosed belt conveyor to deliver corn to the feed mill. The elevator also received two new Vande Berg inbound and outbound truck scales.
The slipform concrete mill itself stands 165 feet tall on a 65-x-60-foot footprint. It includes 30 ingredient bins holding an average of 1,790 tons total. The mill receives 25 to 30 bulk loads of ingredients per day.
Bagged ingredients and bagged feeds awaiting shipment are stored in an attached steel warehouse. A turret truck was purchased and can operate driverless running up and down the narrow aisles to retrieve ingredients stored on pallets, although so far, the vehicles have operated only with human drivers.
All milling operations are under the control of a CPM Beta Raven computerized batching system. The system includes 9- and 7-ton major scales, a 2-ton minor scale, and a pair of CPM Beta Raven 18-bin microingredient systems. The mill is capable of producing both mash and pelleted feeds.
Grinding of whole grain is done on a 45-tpy Bliss hammermill or a pair of 60-tph Lone Star triple-stacked roller mills.
Ingredients are mixed in a 12-ton Scott Equipment double-ribbon mixer operating at an average of 13.83 batches per hour.
From there, mash feed proceeds to a CPM Model 7932-12 pellet mill operating at 45 tph. A 250-hp Cleaver Brooks boiler supplies steam for the operation through a CPM steam conditioner. The mill has space to add two more pellet lines if needed in the future.
Pelleted feed then is routed through a Bliss continuous-flow vertical cooler and on to a pair of 1,168-ton loadout bays. There is no pellet crumbling operation.
When at full capacity, mill operators will load up to 125 trucks per day through a pair of 12-ton weigh hoppers. CFE operates a fleet of 20 feed trucks delivering feed to livestock operations up to 60 or 70 miles away out of this mill.
Ed Zdrojewski, editor
Cooperative Farmers Elevator
Ocheyedan, IA • 712-758-3636
Feed milling capacity: 850,000 tpy at 10 locations
Products: Swine, beef, dairy, sheep
Annual revenues: $470 million
Number of members: 3,000+
Number of employees: 300+
Services: Feed, grain handling and merchandising , fertilizer, seed, lumber
- Steve Petersen, vice president-feed
- Mike Lund, feed operations manager
- Paul Ahrenstorff, mill manager
- Scott Eben, assistant manager
Air compressor - Sullivan Palatek
Batch control system - CPM Beta Raven
Bearing sensors - 4B Components Ltd.
Bin level monitors - BinMaster Level Controls
Boiler - Cleaver Brooks
Bucket elevators - Warrior Mfg. LLC
Contractor - Younglove Construction , L.L.C.
Conveyors (belt) - Schlagel Inc.
Conveyors (drag) - Warrior Mfg. LLC
Distributor - Hayes & Stolz Ind. Mfg. Co. lnc.
Dust collection system - Aircon Corp.
Elevator buckets - Maxi-Lift, Inc.
Gates/diverters - Tom-Cin Metals Inc./IDFI Inc.
Hammermill - Bliss Industries LLC
Mass flow meters - Micro Motion Inc.
Microingredient system - CPM Beta Raven
Millwright - Younglove Construction, L.L.C.; Raveling Inc.
Mixer - Scott Equipment Co.
Motion sensors - Maxi-Tronic Inc.
Pellet cooler - Bliss Industries LLC
Pellet mills - CPM
Roller mills - Lone Star Enterprises
Scales - Vande Berg Scales
Screw conveyors - WAM Inc