US: Michigan joint venture soy processing facility takes shape

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/branex
© GettyImages/branex

Related tags: soybeans, Dairy

Quality Roasting invests $12m in soy processing facility in Michigan, US, as part of a joint venture to strengthen and expand the company’s dairy feed market reach.

The upcoming soybean processing facility is a joint venture between Wisconsin-based, Quality Roasting, and Michigan-based, DeLong Co., Inc.

DeLong is a grain merchandising and handling company that works with agronomy, grain, exports and seeds along with distribution and transportation. In 2018, it was the largest exporter of containerized agricultural products, as per company data. 

Quality Roasting describes itself as a soybean processing company focused on the production of a high-bypass soybean meal, Exceller Meal, for use in dairy feeds for high preforming cows, along with the generation and refinement of soybean oil, for use in feed, human food and biofuel.

“There are different kinds of soybean meal,”​ Jeff Laverty, site manager with Quality Roasting, told us.

His company generates its high-bypass soybean meal after roasting the soybeans and using pressing rather than a hexane solvent process. “A cow on a regular diet of high bypass protein could produce 3 to 5 pounds more milk,” ​he said.

The companies chose the Michigan site for the new JV processing facility following an assessment of volume of soybean production and the numbers of milking cows in various regions, said Laverty.

The intention is to process about 2.2m bushels of soybean at the new site in 2020 and double or triple production in the next five or six years, he reported.

The market for the meal will be local but distribution to other regions may be considered.

“We’re making some good connections in Ontario [in Canada] and we’d like to go that direction,"​ said Laverty. 

Low down on facility 

The new 16,000 square food facility broke ground in May, following a multiyear planning and development process, said Laverty.

The facility is about 75 to 80% complete at this time, as some of the equipment is still being placed and electrical work is ongoing, he said. However, the company has already started buying soybeans.

The site includes a 110ft truck scale and a sampling facility that can be used to check incoming loads, he said.

“We can pull samples and we’ll pull them into the control [room] to test for moisture, foreign material and splits​."

Most of the facility's internal systems can be viewed from the office, said Laverty. 

“They do have to go to the meal tower to load trucks.”

The site has a dump pit that manages about 10,000 bushels an hour along with soybean roasting and processing equipment, he said.  

Currently, the production facility is smaller than the company’s other manufacturing sites, he said. However, the intention is for it to be expanded to match production at the other locations.

“The first expansion we can do within the existing facility – we can add more extruders and more expellers,” ​he said. “The third phase would require a roofline [expansion,] so we’d double roofline.”

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