Monday, April 2, 2012

Walton seed plant bulks up to meed demand

Larger and faster farming equipment means today’s producer farms at a much faster pace than he did twenty years ago.  To keep up with this pace MKC continually analyzes their facilities to ensure they have the speed and space to meet the needs of their customers. 

At MKC’s agronomy center in Walton, the need for more speed and space was especially true as the demand for bulk seed had increased two-fold resulting in an upgrade to the current system.   The recent installation of four bulk seed bins has doubled the center’s seed storage.

According to Erik Lange, Director of Southern Operations for MKC, the old system was being operated above the capacity it was designed for.   “For the past four years, we had been exceeding capacity during soybean and wheat planting,” stated Lange.  “The demand for product outgrew the system’s capabilities.” 

Lange commented that procuring inventory during the peak season was a problem.  “It created the need to be able to store almost an entire season of seed at one time,” stated Lange.

Installed in the late 1980’s, the old system had multiple inefficiencies.  All seed had to be weighed across the truck scale and during wheat or fall harvests it created an inconvenience when customers were delivering grain at the same time customers were trying to pick up seed.   The seed plant now has its own scale hopper eliminating congestion at the truck scale.  

The overhead design of the old bins was also creating inefficiencies as the treater had to be physically moved to each bin when treating beans.  “It was increasing wait times, employee effort and waste,” stated Lange. “This new system features a series of conveyors that allows the treater to be stationary.”

To treat certified wheat, the old system required the seed to be loaded in a truck and then taken to the truck scale to be weighed.  It then went to the seed cleaning plant to be treated.   “It was an inconvenience for our seed and grain customers as well as customers wanting seed cleaning,” stated Lange.   “Customers had to schedule well in advance for treating purchased seed.”

Lange foresees the recent upgrade at Walton will make it much easier for customers to schedule pickup or delivery of treated certified wheat seed.  “The average load time will be about 15 minutes or less,” said Lange.  “The new system will also make it much easier to treat bulk bags and re-bag bulk bags."

The upgrade to the bulk seed system doesn’t mean that Walton has done away with bagged seed.  According to Lange, treating bulk bags and re-bagging bulk bags will now be much easier. 

 “This upgrade is so we can better meet our customers’ needs,” stated Lange.  “It doesn’t matter if it’s bagged or bulk, we are here to provide either service.”

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