URBANA, Ill. — A new Feed Technology Center at the University of Illinois brings industry and academia together for training in cutting-edge technologies and feed science.
The $20-million facility on South Race Street in Urbana replaces the 1920s-era feed mill on St. Mary’s Road, originally built to process university-grown grain and feed university-owned livestock.
The new Feed Technology Center’s capabilities go far beyond that intent, with state-of-the-art processing and sensor technologies delivering standard and specialized small-batch research diets, as well as unparalleled hands-on educational opportunities for students across the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
More than 20 companies, commodity groups and private individuals donated funds or equipment to the project as part of a unique public-private funding model, fast-tracking the build after decades of planning. The project invites additional donations.
In addition to developing and testing novel feeds and pet foods, the facility will allow students to safely gain first-hand experience with the latest feed technologies, positioning them as future leaders in the industry.
Real-time sensor data will be uniquely leveraged in new courses in precision agriculture, digital agriculture and bioinformatics and courses within the new computer science plus animal sciences degree.
• 195,000-bushel whole dry grain storage including three 65,000-bushel grain bins.
• 10,000-bushel wet grain bin.
• Concrete truck load-out bins, 12 with 1,450 bushels each.
• Mill production rate around 20 tons per hour of mash feed and 5 TPH of pelleted feed.
• Dryer capable of 750 to 1,000 bushels per hour.
• Complete automated control system for feed production.
• Standalone extrusion line.
Storage of grains and feed ingredients: Three GSI 42-foot, 15-ring bins with accessories including power bin sweeps, fans, sidewall stairs and full peak walk-around, in addition to one GSI 10,000-bushel wet bin.
Ingredient processing: Capabilities include grinding, pre-mixing, mixing, pelleting, crumbling, bagging, delivery of research animal diets and a standalone extrusion line. Equipment includes 14 ingredient bins able to hold 28,000 cubic feet. A multi-channel, inline near infrared system will monitor the compositional quality of feed ingredients in real time.
Digitally connected facility: Cutting-edge software automating, managing and optimizing mill performance and sustainability provide new tools for feed mill operators, researchers and animal producers. Modern equipment allows for precise diet formulations.
Personnel: Support from technical experts and the vast human capital found in the university’s faculty.
Safety: Safety of those working in the facility, as well as biosecurity of feedstuffs, are a high priority. All equipment and spaces are designed for total cleanout and sanitation between products to fully comply with FDA regulations and manufacturing practices. In addition, the facility is fully equipped with 21st century safety features such as sidewall stairs on storage bins. Security protects feed ingredients and the animals that will consume diets formulated in the Feed Technology Center.
Education: Illinois animal nutrition scientists and hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students will take advantage of the facility’s capabilities to design and test healthy, efficient diets for livestock, poultry and companion animals. Additional educational opportunities include continuing education and workshops for feed industry employees.