Cargill ploughing millions into US soy processing plants to improve operational efficiencies, boost capacity

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/wakr10
© GettyImages/wakr10

Related tags soy crushing Cargill

Cargill is investing US$475m in its US soy crushing operations to meet domestic demand.

The agribusiness group’s newly announced investment program covers modernization and expansion projects across its network of crush facilities in seven states.

The aim is to improve operational efficiencies, while also increasing capacity—by 10% overall in capacity at the Cedar Rapids site, while it will double capacity in the Sidney, Ohio facility.

The oilseed processing giant outlined how the planned improvements will include faster unloading of oilseeds and loading of products, increased capacity which provides additional market opportunities, and better overall logistics, safety, and ease of doing business.

Some of the largest projects will take place in:

  • Sidney, Ohio – the company is expanding its soybean crush site, which will it said will significantly increase production levels while providing state-of-the-art receiving and loading capabilities, and ultimately more value for customers.
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa – the goal here at this soybean processing facility is to increase production capacity. Cargill says this project is more than halfway complete on this project.
  • Wichita, Kansas – investments here will more than double soybean unload capacity per hour and offer additional automation and safety upgrades.
  • Kansas City, Missouri - Cargill said it is looking to make on-site automation enhancements at this plant, which will triple per-hour truck load out capacity, translating to more efficient time management for drivers.

All facilities will continue to operate while construction and expansion projects are underway, added Cargill. 

"These investments are both to fulfill the increasing demand now but also to prepare us to better fulfill future demand as livestock production continues to increase,"​ a Cargill spokesperson told us.

He said there are a multitude of factors driving demand:

"As the US starts to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic, and food service rebounds slightly, there is greater demand for soy products and for soybean meal for livestock production. We expect that to continue over time. In addition to the primary drivers in food, we also are aware of growth in demand for fats and oils to serve the renewable fuels sector, and that is part of the overall demand mix for soy in the US."

Record US soy crush volumes

The US soybean crush hit an all-time high in January this year,  volumes saw the second-highest monthly level ever on robust domestic demand, according to a report​ on S&P Global Platts.

On February 16, the US National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) reported that the January crush stood at 184.654m bushels, up 4% year on year, beating the analysts' average estimates of 183.087m bushels.

The demand for soybean meal has been boosted by US meat processing sectors in terms of meeting their animal feed needs. The soybean oil demand as a feedstock has also seen a pickup due to rising biodiesel purchases, noted S&P Global.

Domestic demand for US soybean meal and oil is rising rapidly on thriving meat exports and stable crude oil usages, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said last month. As a result, higher prices of soymeal and oil are enticing crushers to process more volumes. 

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