USA – The Swiss-based grain and feed processing equipment supplier, Buhler will be availing US$1 million worth of equipment to the University of Illinois to support establishment of the Feed Technology Center.

The company will be donating milling, grinding, mixing and pelleting equipment as well assupply automation hardware and software along with technical expertise to operate the US$20 million digitally connected facility.

The upcoming facility, located at the University of Illinois South Farms, will feature a Bühler multi-channel, inline NIR system, which will monitor the compositional quality of feed ingredients, in real time, during diet preparation.

The data will be uploaded to Bühler Insights, their IoT cloud platform, powered by Microsoft Azure, enabling analysis by a team of data scientists, reports World Grain.

This analysis, combined with Bühler’s team of technologists and process engineers, along with University of Illinois animal scientists, is expected to uncover new insights and provide new tools for feed mill operators and animal producers.

“The animal industry is experiencing a digital transformation,” said Rodney Johnson, head of the Departnemnt of Animal Science at the University of Illinois.

“Our new Feed Technology Center, equipped with Bühler’s newest technology in feed production, will facilitate research that enables real-time decision making to enhance diet quality and production efficiency.

“The partnership with Bühler aligns perfectly with our push into the precision animal management space and our newly established joint degree with Computer Science.”

Brian Williams, vice-president, marketing and business development at Bühler, said: “We commend Dr. Johnson and the University of Illinois team for having the courage to build and equip the facility of the future.

“Our shared vision of a digitally connected facility, powered by the Bühler Insights platform, will enable data science to unlock new levels of efficiency and sustainability. We are thrilled to team-up with the Illini to create this future together.” 

Once completed, the Feed Technology Center, will be the national hub for new discoveries and advancement in animal management, nutrition, and production providing experiential learning opportunities for students in the latest feed technologies.

Construction on the Feed Technology Center started in June and is expected to be completed in fall 2020. The project has also received US$2.5 million support from the Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM).

The University of Illinois and the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Science (ACES) have already committed US$6 million towards the US$20 million project.