Africa gets its first feed mill for research, training

Africa’s first feed mill designed to support training and research in farm animal nutrition will be at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Africa map. Africa grunge logo. Africa logog design
Michael Rayback |

A recent pan-African animal nutrition conference was chosen for the official launch of the continent’s first research and training feed mill.

Africa’s first feed mill designed to support training and research in farm animal nutrition will be at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Located at the Miertjie le Roux Experimental Farm near Bronkhorstspruit, the new facility is a joint venture between the Animal Feed Manufacturers’ Association (AFMA) of South Africa, and the University of Pretoria (UP).

The objective of this joint project is to bridge a gap in knowledge that exists for most animal nutrition students completing their university or tertiary studies, according to the AFMA. Few of these career starters have the opportunity during their education for practical experience in a commercial feed mill. Their knowledge and skills are gained only after three or four years of working in the feed industry. This represents a long and costly investment for their employers, the feed companies.

Furthermore, for post-graduate students, the lack of facilities restricts the possibilities for proper, practical and innovative research and development.

The AFMA/UP Research and Training Feed Mill aims to “close the gap” in the knowledge of the country’s future animal nutritionists. Shortening the time required for in-house training will lead to a faster return on investment in human capital, says the AFMA.

Among the other potential benefits offered by the new facility, AFMA identifies a number of opportunities for the feed industry to test the production of trial feeds and other innovative research. It can also be used to provide short and refresher courses on feed milling, for feed millers and students from South Africa and other countries of the continent.

Joint agreement, operation of the new feed mill

Established with an agreement between the partners in December 2018 at a cost of ZAR50 million (US$3.1 million), the official launch of the new facility took place at the AFMA Forum 2020, which was held at Sun City this month.

Under the agreement between the two partners, AFMA will — via its members and industry players — contribute toward the research and training feed mill and the laboratory. AFMA members will also provide the equipment necessary for its establishment and ongoing operations. UP is providing the site and infrastructure, and will operate the mill, assisted by AFMA specialists.

For UP, the new state-of-the-art facility will primarily be used to prepare diets for Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences’ research projects.

“The facility will support current animal feed-related research, and open up opportunities for collaboration with local industry and beyond our borders,” said Professor Esté van Marle-Köster, head of the department. It will also encourage interdisciplinary research — for example, with engineering and plant and soil sciences — she added.

An online feed milling and animal nutrition curriculum is also planned for the new facility.

Page 1 of 176
Next Page