Privately-owned Valley Feed & Seed has been making feed, mainly for swine with some cattle feed (less than 10%), since the 1960s on a hillside overlooking the town of Rock Valley in far northwest Iowa. The business also operates a 650,000-bushel grain elevator there mostly to store grain for use in the feed mill.
Over the years, the company has made some upgrades to the elevator, mainly adding storage tanks. But little had been done to upgrade the 25-tph feed mill since the late 1990s, says General Manager Chad Kooima, who has spent his 30-year career at the business.
“The old mill never did more than 30 tph,” Kooima says, “and it took two people to run it. Our new mill is fully automated, and so far, operates at 50 to 75 tph. We needed the upgrade to stay in operation.”
In addition to the mill, Valley Feed & Seed added a new single-story, 450-square-foot office building and added a new 7,500-bph elevator leg. “We could never receive corn and dry corn at the same time,” Kooima notes.
The company took bids and selected D & W Industries, Sioux Falls, SD (605-336-0435), as general contractor and millwright on the project.“We tried to stay in the local Rock Valley area for most of our subcontractors, including our cement guy, excavation, and electrician,” Kooima says.
Work on the project began in June 2020, and the new mill ran its first batch of feed on May 29, 2021.
The all-steel feed mill includes 13 Scott Equipment square bins atop the ground-floor mill and two truck loadout bays. The square bins include 11 ingredient bins holding an average total of 30 tons and eight loadout bins holding a total of 14 tons of finished feed. All of the feed is shipped in bulk; no pelleting is done at Rock Valley.
All milling operations are under the control of batching and formulation software from Easy Automation.
Corn is ground on an existing CPM roller mill from the old milling operation. Ground corn, other major ingredients, liquids, and microingredients from a 16-bin Easy Automation system are measured on a batching scale above a Scott 4-ton mixer.
The double-ribbon mixer mixes a batch in an average of 3-1/2 minutes. From there, finished feed is sent to the loadout bins. Valley Feed & Seed operates a fleet of four trucks mostly within a 25-mile radius of Rock Valley.
At the elevator, D & W installed a 7,500-bph Schlagel ingredient receiving leg outfitted with a single row of Tapco 14x7 buckets mounted on a 15-inch Continental belt supplied by Applied Power Products. The leg deposits grain into a new Schlagel five hole rotary distributor, which in turn sends grain and ingredients to storage via gravity spouts.
Ed Zdrojewski, editor