1170 views 6 commentslast update:6 Aug 2012

“The difference between a feed mill and a Skoda….”

May be you think “Harrij is getting crazy?” You may be right. But I want to discuss with you this issue. When you have a look at an average feed mill and compare this with a Skoda (or any other modern car) I see a lot of differences.

The first thing I see is that there is more technology in a car than in an average feed mill. Let me explain this. When you buy a new car you get park distance control in it and in the better (more expensive) ones a parking assistant which is parking the car fully automatically. Maybe there is a camera in the bumper. When you drive in a curve your lights are following the lane. Your cruise-control is controlling you as a driver. And a fully automatic board computer is telling you everything about the status of the driving process. Also the windows can be closed from the driver’s seat. A lot of technologies which could be perfect used in the feed mill to make feed, with less costs, and maybe higher, but surely better predictable quality. Technologies such as Vision (cameras), Sensors and Process Automation give a lot of opportunities for improvement.

Energy control
Another thing is the energy-control in the car. Every minute you drive you see what the energy use of the car is on your dashboard. Car producers are making extensive investments to produce cars which are using less energy. Energy and carbon are number one on the innovation agenda for the car industry.
Let us look at the feed mill again. If we now how much energy we use than it is on the level of the complete mill. You just take a look at the bill of the energy company. But we don’t now for instance what the effect is of the use of the expander in the process. Or even more complex; what the effect is of the use of ingredient A versus B on the use of energy in the production process. We just don’t use the technology which is available to control the energy we are using.I also have doubts if we are using the technology for consuming less energy in the process. In food we know that a lot of production units are using approximately 15-20% of their energy even when they are producing nothing…

Investing in a period of crisis
Yes, and now I hear you thinking. OK, but it is crisis. This technology is costing money - so not today, maybe tomorrow. But wouldn’t the crisis just be a good reason to think out-of-the-box and invest in new technologies? Look at companies like Apple who in heavy times invented the I-Pod. Or Philips/Sara Lee which in dark years invented the Senseo Coffeemaker and are getting a lot more money for each cup of coffee. But if you want to have an excuse not to use technology which is available you have one - the crisis.
I hope you don’t need this excuse and are doing the things you should be doing: Making the best feed for the best food in the world.


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    Tom Tylutki

    You are right on the mark with this posting. However, I would take it one step further. Let's go to our farms! Most farms have no idea of these cost structures. Let's look just at dairy: how many producers have daily milk weights per cow? Yet they try and make decisions on overall herd production. We need to be working with our end users (farms) to implement technology as well.

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    Harrij Schmeitz

    Tom, thanks for your comment. In my new BLOG you will find an great example what technology can mean for the farmers herds...


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    jake piscano

    Technology is always great. Yes, cars have more teachnology than feed mills, which in many instances still use ancient machinery from the 80's, even earlier. But technology should be applied in appropriate conditions. In countries fewer people, this would be great. In highly populated nations, this might be counter productive as labor is almost always cheaper than technology. This is a reality that has to be considered.

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    robert carter

    Harrij, Your article on feed mill and a Skoda challenges feed manufacturers to improve their process efficiencies by incorporating new technologies...and it can be done. Additionally, by improving feed performance, livestock producers can realize cost reductions and reduction in carbon foot print while improving profits and help them produce healthier animals for food.

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    hai guys,i think this technology will help a lot of thing's on feedmill. For example that PPLA technology for enzyme. Nowdays the technogy still not perfect yet, but next two year will be perfect just like car technology...right?

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    Seedy 1

    not sure which century you guys are in. NZ farmers have knew last centuty what milk production levels were coming out of eaach teat let alone each cow. Most ffedmills in the southern hemisphere are high tech including monitoring energy consumption and systems for quick ramp up ramp down to reduce waste

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