USA – Koch Foods is investing US$55 million in a new feed mill in Attalla, Alabama to support the company’s recently expanded processing plant in Gadsden, USA.

The Attalla facility, designed with technologically advanced features for maximum efficiency, is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2021. Koch Foods plans to start assembling a management team for the feed mill in the first quarter of 2020.

The new 130-acre facility in Attalla will have the a storage capacity of more than 1 million bushels of corn, served directly by rail.

That new project adds a fourth processing line to the facility, Koch Foods, based in Illinois, US, has four integrated poultry facilities in Alabama that process approximately 6.8 million chickens per week.

In 2018, Koch announced an US$80 million expansion of its Gadsden plant as part of a growth project involving 200 new jobs boosting production capacity and making it one of the largest poultry processor in Alabama.

“We are very excited about building one of the most technologically innovative grain storage facilities in the world,” said Matthew Herman, Koch Foods’ senior vice president of fresh operations.

“We continue to expand our business in Alabama and are thankful for the cooperative environment between business and government in the state to get things accomplished.”

Sustainable poultry production

Amid the increasing focus on reducing greenhouse emission attributable to poultry and livestock, a team of Canadian researchers has developed a precision feeding system that could help boost environmental sustainability of poultry production.

The team developed prototype feeders for use with broiler breeder flocks with an aim of reducing variation among birds in a breeding flock.

The feeding system developed provides birds a small amount of feed several times a day. The technology is similar to the feed lines and currently used feed pans, where a feeding station replaces the feed line.

While the technology provides individualized nutrition to birds based on their weight, Martin Zuidhof, associate professor and academic leader of the Poultry Research Center, University of Alberta maintains that precision feeding remains important for the future of the industry.

“If you provide the right nutrients, to the right bird, at the right time – you can reduce the nitrogen and phosphorous excretion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – so from an environmental perspective it makes a lot of sense,”​ Zuidhof notes.

In a feeding trial with laying hens that compared ad libitum feeding to use of the precision system, feed intake was reduced by 15%.

According to Zuidhof the consequent reduction in phosphorus and nitrogen emissions are the most important environmental effects established.

While the researcher gear to advance the trials, work towards commercialization of the feeding system is also ongoing.