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Kansas State Plans New Feedmill

Article-Kansas State Plans New Feedmill

The university's old feedmill will be replaced with a new bio-safety facility

The university's old feedmill will be replaced with a new bio-safety facility.

Planned construction of the new O.H. Kruse feedmill and biorefinery is targeted to begin in late 2010 and should be completed in about a year, says Keith Behnke, professor in Kansas State University's (KSU) Department of Grain Science and Industry.

The mill on the school's campus in Manhattan will serve as the new home of the Feed Science and Management (FSM) program.

Thousands of domestic and international feed industry professionals have taken educational short courses and seminars provided by the FSM program. Plus, the faculty has solved problems and offered new technological information throughout the program's history, Behnke says.

But the present mill has outlived its useful life and must be replaced.

Part of the reason for the new mill is the selection of KSU/Manhattan as the site for the new $650-million National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) laboratory to be built by the Department of Homeland Security. NBAF will replace the aging facility at Plum Island, NY. The site chosen for the NBAF is KSU's old feedmill.

“The new feedmill and biorefinery complex is one of K-State's top priorities,” says KSU President Kirk Schulz. “With close to half of the necessary funding already raised or committed, we are enthusiastic about the new facilities, which will benefit industry as well as our students.”

The Kruse family of Goshen, CA, has committed $2 million to honor the company founder, O.H. Kruse, and to stress the importance of training the next generation of feed and biofuels industry professionals. The state of Kansas is kicking in about half the funding for the project, supplemented by cash and in-kind equipment donations.

The new mill combines feed-related activities of the Departments of Grain Science and Animal Sciences into a single facility to serve the needs of both departments and the College of Agriculture in general, Behnke says.

When completed, the $12.5-million facility will include a modern, automated, five-ton-per-hour feedmill; a liquid-feed research facility; and a Bio-Safety Level (BSL) 2 teaching and research feedmill. The mill design will also allow students to safely work with low-virulent pathogens such as salmonella in feeds, but also permit use for other research, teaching and outreach activities when not used in the BSL-2 mode.

Schulz observes: “The new feedmill will enhance K-State's already strong ability to support the Department of Homeland Security's National Bio- and Agro-Defense facility. With the new mill just across the street from NABF, K-State can provide specialty livestock diets to support infectious disease experiments, oral vaccine studies and other trials under high-level, bio-safety controlled conditions. This work cannot be done anywhere else in the United States.”

Besides the processing operations, the feedmill will include corrugated grain bins for ingredient storage and to conduct large-scale grain storage and quality preservation research.

Economies of scale in the purchase of ingredients and efficient use of labor should offer financial savings over the operation of two separate feedmills in the Animal Sciences and Grain Sciences departments, says Ken Odde, head of the school's Department of Animal Sciences and Industry.

The concept of a single mill facility was drawn up about a year ago by a team of both KSU departments and students.

“The design team worked with Younglove Construction (Sioux City, IA) engineers and equipment vendors to identify specific machines that would meet the needs of the university,” says Dirk Maier, head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry. “The feedmill will house several processing machines that will allow in-depth teaching of operational principles. For example, we will have a full-sized hammermill and roller mill for grinding, research, teaching and production.”

A vertical shaft hammermill is being developed for research and teaching as well, Maier says. “In addition to having a traditional pellet mill, we will have a Kahl ‘flat-bed’ pellet mill that will be a technology platform for pelleting biomass for cellulosic biofuels research,” he says.

Feed sterilization and sanitation research will also be conducted to meet new food/feed safety laws under review in Congress, Maier says.