Handling is the "biggest positive" of the EasiFlo product, says Jim Hanson, director of ingredient supply and merchandising, Midwest Feed Group, Cenex/Land O'Lakes. Mills under Hanson's jurisdiction were among those to receive the first truckloads generated by the pilot plant at the USDA Cotton Ginning Laboratory in Lubbock, TX. Hanson says response from feed mill managers was "obviously positive because it handled so much easier than whole fuzzy cottonseed."
John Pagett, mill manager at Southern States' Durham, SC, feed mill, had a similar reaction: "Before (EasiFlo), we couldn't handle cottonseed at all. We could handle this product." The coated seed was moved through the mill much like traditional grain, using existing equipment. Despite some problems with separation in mashed feeds, Pagett says, "From a milling standpoint, it's an excellent product."
EasiFlo can be transported in hopper-bottom trucks or railcars, conveyed using existing conveying systems and stored in overhead bins, says Wedegaertner. This helps put mills back "in control."
"As dairies get bigger and bigger, it's harder for mills to justify their existence," he explains. While many smaller dairies in the Eastern United States still rely on mills for the protein concentrate they mix with home-grown forages, larger dairies tend to bypass the mill and buy direct from gins, or through brokers or traders. "The EasiFlo process brings another commodity back under the feed mill's control, which will help in the long run."