January 16, 2017

16/01/2017: New Panama Canal expansion sees grain transportation costs tumble

by Andrew Wilkinson, Milling and Grain

The long-awaited Panama Canal expansion opened earlier this Summer with a ceremonial ship passing through the waterway

Based on extensive research including more than 100 studies on the economic feasibility, market demand, environmental impact and other technical engineering aspects, the Panama Canal expansion involved the construction of a ‘Third Set of Locks’ that will now allow larger ships to pass through the famous canal.

The project, costing more than US$5 billion and lasting nine years, boasts a wealth of new features including improved water supply, updated navigational channels and new Pacific and Atlantic lock complexes with eight rolling gates on each side.

The new set up is expected to be particularly beneficial to the ships that were previously not able to traverse the Panama Canal, as the container capacity per vessel has now expanded from 4,400 to 12,000 containers per vessel; with this almost threefold increase with some sources predicting that fuel costs could be reduced by as much as 16 percent.

“The Canal is a vital trade route for all grains and other agricultural commodities that are shipped from the US Corn Belt to Asia,” said USGC Chairman and Nebraska farmer Alan Tiemann, who attended the canal’s opening ceremony.

“In fact, with the completion of this project, it is estimated that the cost to transport grain between those two points will drop significantly.”

The largest expansion for the Canal in nearly a century

From its inception, the intention of the multibillion-dollar plan included the construction of a new set of locks to allow the passage of wider, longer and much heavier cargo ships.

“The Panama Canal’s expansion and resulting decreases in shipping costs and time will improve competitiveness of US grains in growing markets,” stated Tiemann, adding that, “This will help US farmers gain access to new markets and continue to expand sales with buyers in our established markets who want more efficient shipments of grain.”

While the exact impact of the Canal’s expansion on the global grain trade still remains uncertain to a certain extent, the Canal’s ability to handle Capesize vessels will certainly create greater opportunities for the export of grains and other commodities. That should raise basis bids on number of users alone, as there will be more competition for the grain.

Third highest ever annual tonnage
So how has the Panama Canal faired in its first months following the expansion project? Well according to its most recent annual report, the waterway has recorded the third-highest annual tonnage in its 102-year history in 2016, and as the new section of the canal only opened in June, these figures only look set to rise in the coming years.

During the 2016 fiscal year, which went from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016, the Panama Canal Authority recorded 330.7 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS). During the year a total of 13,114 vessels sailed through the canal, including 238 Neopanamax vessels taking advantage of the newly opened Expansion project.

In fact, Neopanamax vessels accounted for approximately 18.2 million PC/UMS. “Despite the international shipping downturn this past year, we recorded one of the highest annual tonnage figures since the opening of the original Canal 102 years ago,” stated Jorge L. Quijano, Panama Canal Administrator, who qualified his statement by adding that, “This latest success reinforces the continued strategic importance of the route and the growing value that recent investments in the Canal will bring to the maritime industry.”

However, although the nexpanede Panama canal appears to already of benefit to shipping industry, the grain price gains are predicted to be very limited at best. This is the case as, according to Jay O’Neil, agricultural economist at Kansas State University’s international grains program, not many foreign grain buyers can handle the bigger ships or the larger cargoes.

“How many of our customers want an 85,000-ton cargo? Not that many,” he imparted in a recent interview with Farm Futures. But will the project have any bearing on the overall cost of shipping?

Read the full article HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

For additional daily news from milling around the world: global-milling.com

Endeco Technologies company profile

The energy landscape is fundamentally changing.

As more renewable energy sources come online, our power infrastructure needs more ‘flexibility’.

Grid Operators need new ways to balance energy demands. Demand side response is the answer.

Endeco Technologies is your partner.

solutions for grid stability
To tackle these energy challenges, National Grid and EirGrid have developed a broad suite of solutions called Demand Side Response (DSR). These strategies allow load to be generated or removed from the Grid in order to to stabilise grid frequency. This adds stability to the system and reduces the need for coal and gas fired reserves to be ready to supply power at short notice.

They re-balance the grid

1. Grid balance
When generation and demand of energy are not in balance it causes a change of Frequency in the grid system.

2. Grid operators
National Grid, Eirgrid, & SONI have statutory responsibilities to the safe operation of the electricity grid which should operate between 49.5 and 50.5 Hertz.

3. Renewables challenges
Due to the intermittent nature of wind generation coupled with peaks in demand, grid stability in real-time presents a major challenge. Most renewable generators are not interfaced with the grid through synchronous machines, therefore are unable to contribute towards inertial response.

4. The grid relies on us
When not at a balanced 50 Hertz, the Grid relies upon Endeco Technologies. By utilising customer assets we automatically control to respond and contribute to rebalancing the grid and avoiding scenarios such as electricity blackouts.

5. Unique
Endeco Technologies’ unique, open technology platform monitors grid parameters in real time and controls onsite assets as the Grid requires.

Visit the website HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

For additional daily news from milling around the world: global-milling.com

16/01/2017: Public wheat breeder consortium to be developed by USDA grant

Goal to make dramatic improvements to wheat yields

A&M AgriLife Research's wheat genetic and breeding programs will have genes in play when a multi-state, multi-agency project establishes a nationally coordinated consortium to advance wheat yields

The Wheat Coordinated Agricultural Project, titled "Validation, characterisation and deployment of QTL for grain yield components in wheat," is a five-year project jointly funded by US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and International Wheat Yield Partnership.

Image: Maria Keays
The first year of funding, $1,696,000, has been released with the following years of funding subject to release based upon continued progress in the grant research.

The primary focus of this consortium of public wheat breeders, molecular geneticists, high-throughput genotyping laboratories, database experts and educators will be on increasing wheat yields.

Developers of the project said surveys of state wheat-grower associations have repeatedly shown grain yield is the main priority for producers and the main determinant of their profits. Increases in kernel weight will also benefit grain millers, because this trait is highly correlated with increases in flour yield.

The project will be led by the University of California-Davis and include most university-based and USDA-Agricultural Research Service public wheat breeding programs.

Contributing to the major effort to improve wheat yields dramatically over the next decade from AgriLife Research will be wheat geneticist Dr Shuyu Liu, Amarillo, and wheat breeders Dr Amir Ibrahim, College Station, and Dr Jackie Rudd, Amarillo.

"AgriLife Research's TAM 111 is currently the most planted hard red winter wheat cultivar in the US, and its derivatives have been used in many wheat breeding programs," Dr Liu said.

The project will allow the TAM wheat breeding team to hire a doctoral student to follow through on genetic testing of TAM 111, he said.

The student will deploy a variety of techniques to identify and study the functionality of candidate genes for the major quantitative trait loci, or QTL, identified in TAM 111 for higher yield.

"Since TAM 111 and its derivatives have been used in many wheat breeding programs as parents, the knowledge will be very helpful for wheat breeders," Dr Liu said.

The project was developed because increases in the global wheat production required to feed a growing population is currently hampered by limited knowledge of the genes controlling wheat yield. Identification of these genes is a necessary first step to understand how they interact and shape the pathways that regulate yield.

Genetic variations of grain yield and its components can be used to identify candidate genes, such as those in TAM 111, and the use of new genomic tools will provide a unique opportunity to clone the underlying genes, Dr Liu said.

The US scientists will partner with International Wheat and Maize Improvement Centre, or CIMMYT, researchers to transfer these underlying genes into wheat lines from CIMMYT in Mexico to be used to improve varieties worldwide, he said.

The group also identified a long-term constraint to future increases in wheat production in the US as the limited number of trained plant breeders.

This project will train 15 doctoral students in plant breeding, integrating field, laboratory and bioinformatics skills, including the one with AgriLife Research.

According to the project outline, public breeding programs within the universities are essential to providing plant breeding students with integrated training, including field and laboratory experiences.

Centralised workshops will allow doctoral students to benefit from the collective group expertise.

Read more HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

For additional daily news from milling around the world: global-milling.com

16/01/2017: Bühler and Protix to boost industrial insect production

As the global population grows, so does the necessity for alternative, sustainably-generated protein sources

Insects provide a natural and sustainable protein source that will contribute to closing the future protein gap.
Insects at Bühler R&D lab

In order to address this potential, Bühler – the leading solution provider for the food and feed industry – and Protix – the leading insect production company – have founded Bühler Insect Technology Solutions.

This joint venture will develop scalable, industrial solutions for the rearing, and processing of insects to provide protein primarily for animal feed and food. Bühler Insect Technology Solutions is located in China and has already begun operations.

“By combining the knowledge and experience of our two companies, we can provide industrial insect processing solutions to address the alternative protein market,” explains Ian Roberts, CTO of Bühler.

“Together, we can develop both sustainable and cost effective solutions for large scale insect producers and processors that cover the whole value chain,” adds Kees Aarts, CEO of Protix.

Nine billion people are expected to live on our planet by 2050.

To feed them all in a sustainable way, we need more than 250 million tonnes of additional protein a year – an increase of 50 percent compared to today’s level.

But important natural resources are increasingly in short supply: At present, 30 percent of all fish stocks are considered overfished. Two-thirds of all vegetable proteins – and even 80 percent of the soybean harvest – are processed into animal feed for livestock.

As more emerging countries prosper, meat consumption looks set to rise by nearly 50 percent by 2050.

Adding to the challenge is the topic of waste: Today, some 30 percent of raw materials are lost or thrown away between the field and the plate.

For these reasons, high hopes have been placed on alternative protein sources such as pulses or algae.

One of the most promising sources to generate protein sustainably and with a low footprint is insects: Fly larvae or mealworms, for instance, are easy to breed and can be fed with organic waste.

They are remarkably efficient at converting feed into protein and require little space to cultivate.

KeesAarts, Founder and CEO Protix, and Andreas Aepli, CEO Bühler Insect TechnologySolutions

Complementary knowledge and experience

Because of these advantages, insects have attracted considerable attention from start-ups and established players in the food industry in recent years.

Protix was founded 2009 in the Netherlands. In just a few years, thanks to its dedicated team of highly skilled professionals, the company developed proprietary equipment and solutions gaining extensive operational expertise not only in the breeding and rearing cycle, but also in separating and extracting proteins and lipids from insects.

With a pilot plant, it processes 1,600 tonnes of insect larvae per year and produces high quality, insect-based ingredients. The company was recognised as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in 2015.

“Protix is the most advanced insect company that has demonstrated industrial-scale production in a way that is scalable and multipliable. They have proven how to create a market in insect protein,” explains Mr Roberts.

End product Protix Protein X
Now they are ready to take the company to the next level and need a partner who understands the requirements of large, industrial processors.

This is where Bühler steps in: The Switzerland-based technology and solution provider looks back on more than 150 years of experience in developing scalable, cost effective, hygienic plants and processes for food and feed products.

Bühler is also the recognised technology leader in milling, which is one of the key process steps for extracting protein from insects. Additionally, Bühler supports customers through its global service network.

“Bühler has a strong, established business providing technologies for animal feed, and protein from the insects can be used in pellets, or directly as animal feed. With our global market access, technology base, and engineering capabilities, combined with the deep knowledge, experience and entrepreneurial flair of Protix, we have the ingredients for a successful commercial partnership,” Mr Roberts says.

Scalable, industrial processing solutions
Bühler Insect Technologies is located in Liyang, China. The goal of the joint venture is to develop industrial scale solutions for feedstock processing, larvae rearing and larvae processing, and to produce high-quality insect ingredients – covering the whole value chain from rearing to separation and extraction of proteins and lipids.

Initially, the focus will be on larvae of the Black Soldier Fly, nicknamed the “Queen of waste transformation” for its impressive ability to transform organic waste products into high-quality protein.

Subsequently there will be a diversification to other insects, such as mealworms. The insect proteins will be used primarily for the production of sustainable animal feed, for example in aquaculture, which is the fastest growing agricultural segment in the world.

The market for insect processing solutions has huge potential: By 2050, insects could account for 15 percent of global protein production. 

Read more HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

For additional daily news from milling around the world: global-milling.com

January 13, 2017

Van Aarsen company profile

Van Aarsen has become a household name worldwide for machinery and turnkey projects for animal feed technology, both for commercial feed producers and for vertically-integrated businesses. 

Quality is of the utmost importance in both sectors of the industry and innovations in feed production are therefore of great interest. 

Thanks to their extensive experience, engineers and technicians are always able to offer tailor-made solutions.

Visit the company site HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

For additional daily news from milling around the world: global-milling.com

13/01/2017: Rotary batch mixer - achieving precise ratios for feed supplements

“As food safety regulations become more complex and the marketplace more competitive, the Rotary Batch Mixer is the right tool for the job”
-Jos Zamzow, CEO of Catalyst, Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Family-owned Catalyst, formerly Pharm-Tech, custom formulates and manufactures feed and nutritional supplements for customers in the livestock, poultry, pet, wildlife and aquaculture industries. It operates five production plants, three in Idaho and two in Iowa.

Its range of over 100 products includes digestive aids, mineral supplements and most recently Certified Organic blends and finished feeds. One of Catalyst’s lead products is OCM™ Global, an all-natural blend of minerals that has established a worldwide reputation for improving the digestion and absorption of nutrients for livestock, while encouraging the elimination of waste.
Catalyst’s manufacturing process places high demands on mixers. Batches need to be thoroughly mixed to a homogenous blend, despite large numbers of ingredients, wide variation in ingredient weights, and range of bulk densities.

Jos Zamzow, Catalyst’s Chief Operations Officer stated, “FSMA (US Food Safety Modernization Act) regulations are changing the way we do business. The new requirements with regard to ingredient tracking, certifications, and product registrations make our large Munson Rotary Batch Mixer the most economical way to make products. It enables us to build larger batches at a time, cutting down on batch-by-batch paperwork and sample testing requirements.”

The 2125 l capacity 700-TH-75 Rotary Batch Mixer was installed in Catalyst’s Des Moines facility as part of a plant upgrade, replacing the original Rotary Batch Mixer, which had operated stolidly since the 1960s.

Mixing disparate ingredients in wide-ranging ratios
The number of ingredients in a single Catalyst product can vary from as few as four to more than 30, plus individual additions of trace elements and vitamins in amounts as small as 45g. The mixer needs to distribute both primary and trace ingredients with total uniformity.

Catalyst’s products are often added to larger finished feeds by customers, in ratios ranging from 1:40 to approximately 1:700, mandating that these additives are blended precisely throughout the batch. Mr Zamzow continued, “Our customers rely on us to retain exacting concentrations in the blends we make for them.”

Read the full article HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

For additional daily news from milling around the world: global-milling.com

January 12, 2017

13/01/2017: Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission announced

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay has announced the appointment of Patricia (Patti) Miller as Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC)

 The appointment is for a six-year term effective February 13, 2017.

Mr MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said, “I am pleased to announce the appointment of Patti Miller to the Canadian Grain Commission. Patti has a wealth of experience in the sector and her passion for agriculture will be of great benefit to the Commission’s work.”
Image: Kyle Pearce

Patricia (Patti) Miller has extensive experience in both government and the grains and oilseeds industry.

In April 2012, Ms Miller joined the Canola Council of Canada as President.

While at the Council Ms Miller led the development and implementation of a new strategic plan and guided the industry to successful resolution of several challenging trade issues.

Prior to joining the Council, Ms Miller worked at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Winnipeg where she managed large-scale program delivery for several years.

During her career with AAFC she was responsible for working with Canadian grains and oilseeds producers and industry on policy, trade, market development and research issues in order to facilitate sustainable, profitable market growth in the sector.

Prior to her executive work with AAFC, Ms. Miller was Communications Manager with a multi-national agri-food company in Winnipeg where she provided leadership on government relations, corporate and employee communications.

Read more HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

For additional daily news from milling around the world: global-milling.com