Ocheyedan feed mill

Cooperative Farmers Elevator is building a feed mill in Ocheyedan, Iowa, as part of an effort to keep up with hog industry expansion in the region.

OCHEYEDAN, Iowa -- The continued expansion of the livestock industry has led to more feed mills.

Cooperative Farmers Elevator is building a 167-foot-tall feed mill in Ocheyedan, Iowa. The state-of-the-art mill is expected to produce 3,000 tons of swine feed during its 18 hours of operation daily.

“It should be completed this fall,” says Steve Petersen, vice-president of CFE’s feed division. “We’re pretty excited with how it’s coming along.”

The Northwest Iowa mill will require 70,000 bushels of corn per day, and all of that will be locally sourced, Petersen says. The mill will produce 780,000 tons of feed annually.

Storage capacity on the site is 1,790 tons, which also includes bean meal and other ingredients.

CFE currently owns eight feed mills and leases two more in Northwest Iowa, Southwest Minnesota and Southeast South Dakota, Petersen says.

“We haven’t built a feed mill under CFE, which is the result of three local cooperative coming together two and a half years ago,” says Mike Lund, CFE’s feed operations manager. “The hog industry is growing in northwest Iowa, and the size of the industry is pushing the older mills harder.”

“With the increased production with the newer packing plants, we saw an opportunity to add to the mill capacity,” Petersen adds.

A larger hog industry requires more mills, says Kelvin Leibold, Extension farm management specialist with Iowa State University. He says most of the growth has come with elevators or larger swine operations.

“There has been minimal growth when it comes to feed mills with independent producers,” he says. “Those who have built a mill are using their own grain, and are likely making multiple rations in small batches.”

Leibold says smaller producers could look at a mill if they need some sort of specialized ration, such as organic.

“Unless you are doing something like that, I doubt you can produce feed as economically as a large mill, which sends out feed in semi loads,” he says.

On the cattle side, Leibold says large feedlots could benefit from having a mill.

“If you’re using your own corn, corn silage, haylage and even distillers, grinding your own feed could be somewhat beneficial,” he says.

Petersen says CFE believes it will gain even more customers once the new mill is up and running. He says CFE currently produces 800,000 tons of feed per year at its 10 mills.

“We really felt we needed to add to our capacity to keep up with the hog industry expansion,” he says. “If we wanted to stay competitive in the feed business, this is something that needed to be done.”

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