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Agricon Pelleting: Make money with pelleting of animal feeds and waste


South African-based Agricon Pelleting is a worldwide supplier of pelletising machinery and feed handling equipment for agri-processing. Agricon was established in 1993 and supplies equipment for animal feed production and organic material pelletising for fertilisers, composts and other value-added products.

Pelletising, is the compaction of loose materials into cylindrical highly compacted pellets. This process is done to save on wastage of feeds by animals, increase digestibility and preserve feeds, and make feed easier to store and transport.

Since 2008 the African continent has emerged as Agricon's largest export market. Although, Agricon has successfully supplied their equipment to 26 countries all over the world. Agricon has also managed to reach new markets by adapting their equipment to pelletise a range of specific products – such as rooibos tea, tobacco dust, organic fertilisers and various composts – all with the same machine.

Johan EksteenJohan Eksteen, owner of Agricon, was recently awarded the 2016/17 Sanlam and Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year of South Africa. The annual competition gives recognition to South African entrepreneurs based on quality, innovation, client service and globalisation of their business.

Agricon manufactures an extensive range of cost-effective pelleting solutions for the agricultural and industrial sectors. This includes all the equipment needed in a full animal feed factory. The company was founded in 1993 and is recognised worldwide for its quality pelleting machines and excellent service. With more than 24 years' experience in the industry, Eksteen freely shares his knowledge to assist customers in acquiring equipment that will provide hassle-free operations. Agricon also provides guidance on how to build a sustainable pelleting business.

Gugu Mjadu, spokesman for the competition, praised Eksteen for his strong entrepreneurial aptitude and the remarkable growth of his business.

"The award is a measure of how well you compare with your competitors. Apart from the pride of victory, the award is an honour that will differentiate our business in the future from others," says Eksteen.

"Too many believe they can get away with reselling imported Chinese goods and deliver no after-sales service to their customers. This is where Agricon gained the trust and loyalty of the international market".

In addition to the manufacturing of machines and equipment, the company also provides training and on-site installation for clients, as well as support following a sale or the provision of spare parts.

One of Agricon's most recently launched innovative products is the Agricon-PTO 500 – made for the farmer with no power supply. This machine is ideally driven by a 46kW (61HP) tractor, supplied with a 6x40mm die ring and an estimated capacity on the slip-clutch system of 500kg/hr. The machine's dimensions are as follows: 700mm wide, 1160mm long, 1200mm high, and it weighs 750kg.

Agricon pelleting

The benefits of pelleting

  • Improved animal performance. Higher energy intake levels occur while animals spend less energy to graze and feed digestibility increases by 14.2%. Pelleted feed promotes animal growth due to better feed conversion rate. In other words, better utilisation of the nutrient value of the feed.
  • Due to the heat generated in the pelleting process, it improves the uptake of protein in the rumen of ruminants (thus a higher bypass protein), thereby increases amino acid availability and increases animal performance.
  • Pelleting reduces wastage with up to 30% versus loose feeds, due to poor and selective eating habits.
  • Pelleting will eliminate dust that will increase the palatability or taste of the feed.
  • No wind loss occurs on pellets and the feed is dust free.
  • Better mixing of raw materials takes place. Therefore, no selective feeding will take place.
  • The ration is less bulky, and as such, reduces storage space requirements and allows for easier transportation and handling.



Which farmer are you? Are you concerned to waste more than 30% your expensive feeds, or not worried to get 14.2% higher digestibility and no wastage? This is a difference of up to 42% better utilisation of your available feeds!

The savings is not only because the middleman who sells pellets is eliminated, but also because the farmer has control over his formulations. In this way, the farmer can add value to poorer quality feeds, thereby reducing cost without compromising overall quality.

Typical feed wastage calculations for a medium-sized farm

  • At a medium-sized farming operation the wastage of loose feeds can be up to 300kg per day, or even more depending on feed volumes. This is when you use a total of 20 bags or 1 tonne of feed a day.
  • With a ration cost of R2,800 per tonne, wastage of R840 per day occurs.
  • Over a period of 365 days, wastage will cost the farmer as much as R306,600
  • With a feed conversion rate of 6:1, a loss in weight gain of ± 18,250kg per year will occur with loose feeds versus pelleted feeds. At a feedlot price of R28 per kg, approximately R511,000 is lost per year.
  • The total loss calculation can be as much as R817,600 per year if you use 1 tonne of feed per day.

Potential value adds through pelleting/or cost-saving to pelletise your own feed:

  • Suppose the average price of Lucerne is R2,400 per tonne. (R60 per bale)
  • It costs R55 to mill the Lucerne and R95 to do pelleting, therefore R150 + R2,400 = R2,550 per tonne. (R127.50 per bag)
  • Suppose the average price for commercial Lucerne pellets is R3,800 per tonne, or R190 per bag).
  • The profit or value add is therefore R1,250 per tonne or R62.50 per bag.

How does pelleting work?

It is very important to control the feed rate of a pelletiser otherwise the machine will constantly over feed or underperform, resulting in blockages or poor production capacity. The workmanship is also very important because the machine works under huge pressure with consequent vibration, therefore the chassis must be durable and strong.

It takes feeds 20 seconds to go through the pelleting mechanism. Naturally dried feeds (about 10-12% moisture) need a little more moisture, in the form of water (12-14%), to activate the binding process. Binding of the material happens under extreme pressure as the pellets are pressed through the holes at a temperature of 60-90°C. The heat is simply caused by pressure and friction produced by a well-designed machine. Poorly designed machines will not reach sufficiently elevated temperatures, therefore needing binding agents like molasses. The pellets need to be cooled by various mechanical and non-mechanical methods.

Several misconceptions prevail about pelletising because of the less efficient older type of pelletisers and the substandard quality of imported machines. The greatest misperception is the need for high percentages of molasses to bind the pellets. The heat will caramelise the sugars, resulting in the holes becoming sticky and clogged. Water is all you need with a well-designed machine to help in the binding process. The pelleting machine's compression ratio can be adjusted for diverse types of feed.

Contact details

For more information or to request a quote, contact Johan Eksteen in Bloemfontein at:
MOBILE. +27 (0)71 877 3324
EMAIL  johan@agriconrsa.com
WEBSITE. www.agriconrsa.com

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