EuroTier 2018 here I come


I am looking forward to going to EuroTier 2018 next week which promises to be another massive agricultural fair along the lines of Space 2018. It was a bit of an eye opener going to Space and one which I won’t forget.

I met lots of our advertisers there and it was good to make contact and find out what their businesses are all about. Before driving to Hannover I will be spending a couple of days with Olmix which is a fascinating company specialising in age-based solutions. One of their major drives is to try and reduce the amount of antibiotics used in feed and food which is something that Perendale   (publishers of Milling and Grain Magazine and International Aquafeed Magazine)  is passionate about. I will be fascinated to hear exactly how Olmix plan to utilise algae based products to reduce antibiotics.

In addition to visiting Olmix and EuroTier 2018 I will of course really be looking forward to immersing myself in German culture once again. Germany is a country I am very fond of I find the nation to be very friendly and welcoming. The food is also among my favourites.

So I will be telling you all about Olmix and EuroTier on my return.

The GRAPAS Innovations Awards

The GRAPAS Innovations Awards are once again open and we need your entries by  31st March, 2019.
Milling and Grain magazine, the oldest milling magazine still in print – and first published in 1891 – is once again holding the GRAPAS Innovations Awards at Victam International 2019 from June 12-14th, 2019 in Köln, Germany.
The award will be made to the most innovative and economically beneficial equipment, process or service in the milling of grains and cereals for food production at GRAPAS Germany 2019.
All GRAPAS Innovations Award recipients will be published in an edition of Milling and Grain magazine along with a review of the event itself. This issue will not only reach MAG print readers, but will be promoted widely through the magazine’s social media to ensure maximum awareness of the Award winner within the milling industry globally.
Nominations are being called for from all sectors of food milling and from non-exhibiting and exhibiting companies alike. Those shortlisted for the award will have the opportunity to display their product in a special award’s area at the entrance to the Victam International exhibition hall for all visitors to view. Visitors will have an opportunity to vote for the most appealing nomination.
A panel of independent, international industry experts will judge the entries. Their selection will account for 60 percent of the final vote. Delegates attending the one-day GRAPAS Conference on June 13, 2019 and visitors attending the Victam International Exhibition from June 12-14, 2019 will be able to vote on the award and their combined vote will account for 40 percent of the final vote. The Award will be announced during Victam International 2019.
How to enter
To participate a nomination must be an innovation, process or service and comply with the following:
1. Have been introduced to the market after January 2017
2. Be new
3. Make a contribution to efficiency and/or safety
4. Demonstrate significant practical value
5. Applications can be made by both exhibitors and non-exhibitors
As the shortlist of nominations will be displayed at Victam International 2019 for final voting, please be prepared to supply a small display (details of size and dimensions to be forwarded following application submission) to be set up in the Awards Area at Victam.
For further information please contact:
Milling and Grain magazine
Attention: Miss Rebecca Sherratt
7 St George’s Terrace
St James’ Square
Gloucestershire GL50 3PT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1242 267700

Attracting young people into flour milling

I have been in post for around two months and one thing has become clear – there is a real challenge in encouraging a new wave of younger millers into the industry.

Milling is a very forward thinking and exciting industry to be involved with with lots of opportunities but how do we get that message across to young people? When I was going up my first experience with milling was with Windy Miller. He was the iconic traditionalist who ran Colley’s Mill in Camberwick Green and he appeared in every episode of the hit children’s show.

Windy Miller – image by Gary Woodburn on Flickr

While it may not seem that significant Windy Miller at least put milling into my world at a young age – I had an awareness of what milling was all about and as such it put the industry firmly into my psyche. I am not suggesting that inventing a new cartoon character would solve the problem of attracting young people into the industry but it might help. A modern day Windy would have a whole host of new challenges to deal with and a whole host of new technologies to get to grips with. It would not be enough for him to still be using a windmill to grind his flour – he would have lots of options and computer technology to boot. Infra red colour sorters and tools to measure how much protein there is in wheat would all be part of Windy’s day.

How would he deal with the demonisation of gluten? How would he get his wheat to market – all challenges the modern day miller has to face every day. If anyone has any ideas about how we attract a new generation of millers I would be very interested to hear about them – email me on

Irish Halloween Bread

Happy halloween everyone. It’s that time of year when we are all searching for festive treats to eat. It seems society comes up with new ways of making us spend our money whatever the season. For the milling industry it is a time of year when special festive bakes take centre stage so I thought I would share an old recipe with you for Irish Barm Brack.

Barm Brack – photo courtesy of Saving Room for Desert

Barm Brack is a traditional Irish recipe served around Halloween. Barm Brack is a little sweeter than sandwich bread, but not as rich as cake. The Irish bake items into the bread as a game of fortune-telling. Sometimes there is a ring indicating an impending marriage or a coin foretelling good luck or riches.

  • 4-3/4 cups unbleached bread flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cup milk (heated to 95-100 degrees on an instant read thermometer)
  • ⅓ cup water, plus extra as needed
  • ⅓ cup Irish Whiskey, such as Bushmills or Jameson
  • vegetable oil for the bowl and pan
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¾ cups mixed golden raisins, raisins, and dried currants
  • 1 -2 tablespoons milk for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar for garnish
  1. Place the raisins, currants and golden raisins in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add the whiskey and ⅓ cup water. Soak the fruit for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. When ready to start the bread, drain the raisins reserving the liquid. Add enough water to the soaking liquid to measure ⅔ cup. Set aside the fruit and liquid.
  3. Sift the flour, allspice and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir in the yeast and granulated sugar. Turn the stand mixer on the lowest setting and add the warmed milk, water and whiskey mixture. Mix until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, becoming slightly sticky but soft.
  4. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until it has doubled in size.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly for one minute. Add the butter and soaked fruit and work them in until completely incorporated. Return the dough to the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the bread to rise again – for about 30 minutes.
  6. Oil or grease a 9″ spring-form or cake pan. Form the dough into a neat circle and press into the prepared pan. Cover and let the dough rest in a warm place until it has risen again, about 1 hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the top of the loaf with milk and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar. Bake for 15 minutes then cover with foil. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a rack and cool.
  8. Serve sliced spread with butter.

Annual International Milling Directory Survey

Hello, we are about to start production of the in-print version of the International Milling Directory and I need your help. Every year we produce a printed version of the International Milling Directory which is a handy go to resource for everyone involved in milling but how can we improve it?

Shortly I will be sending emails to a number of companies listed in the IMD asking for their views on the directory both the online version and the printed version. So please fill it in and please feel free to email me with any questions you may have about the IMD or any suggestions as to how it could be improved. It is a fantastic resource for those within the industry and one which we hope to improve every year. If you would like to be involved please email me on:


Wheat figures on track for decline

Naveen Thukral for Reuters:

Chicago wheat futures were on track for their biggest weekly decline since early September on Friday, as stiff competition from the Black Sea region and higher output in China weighed on the market. 

Soybeans were headed a third straight weekly loss, while corn was down for a second week on U.S. harvest pressure and disappointing exports. 

“Wheat has come under a bit of pressure this week on forecasts of higher supplies from Russia and IGC has raised its outlook for the Chinese crop,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney. 

Ole Houe

“But the latest drop (in wheat prices) is unwarranted as supplies are likely to tighten next year. Overall production in Russia and Australia is lower and global demand for wheat remains strong.” 

The Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat contract has lost 4.5 percent this week, the biggest decline since the week ended Sept. 7. The market was up 0.9 percent at $4.91-3/4 a bushel by 0242 GMT on Friday.

Expectations of higher wheat exports from Russia, the world’s biggest supplier, are adding pressure on U.S. wheat prices. 

An improved crop outlook in China led the International Grains Council on Thursday to raise its forecast for world wheat production in the 2018/19 season. 

The IGC put global wheat production at 728.8 million tonnes, up from a previous forecast of 716.7 million tonnes, although still well below the prior season’s 767.1 million tonnes. 

A stronger dollar, which makes the greenback-priced commodities expensive for buyers holding other currencies, weighed on wheat futures.

Wheat by Flickr user Murtaza

Still, some Asian flour mills are looking to lock in wheat supplies until well into the middle of 2019, potentially shaking off a years-long trend for hand-to-mouth buying as global output is set to drop for the first time in six years. 

Pressure from harvest of bumper soybean and corn crops in the United States kept a lid on prices. 

Soybeans have declined 1.5 percent this week, while corn has lost 1.2 percent. Soybeans rose 0.2 percent to $8.43-3/4 a bushel and corn added 0.4 percent to $3.62-1/2 a bushel on Friday. 

The CBOT soybean futures sank on Thursday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its weekly report showed 212,700 tonnes of export sales, well below trade expectations for a third week in a row.

Weekly U.S. corn export sales were similarly disappointing, at 377,500 tonnes (old and new crop years combined). 

Commodity funds were net sellers of CBOT corn, wheat, soybean, soymeal and soyoil futures contracts on Thursday, traders said. Estimates of net fund selling in corn ranged from 17,000 to 35,000 contracts.



Royal British Legion needs our support


The Royal British Legion today launches its Poppy Appeal for 2018. It is vital that we support this incredibly important fundraising drive and remember those who sacrificed so much for us.

In this, the centennial of the end of World War 1 it is perhaps even more important for us to wear a poppy with pride and remember those who gave so much for the freedom we enjoy today.

The Mills Archive tells us a bit more about the role of flour millers during the war:

During the First World War the production and distribution of flour came under government control, a situation that lasted until 1921.

With de-control came a period of competition and reorganisation.  Some companies had lost trade during the war and were now seeking to regain it, but others gained new customers during the war and increased their production as a result.

Over-production and imports of foreign flour added to the mix.

Two of the main players continued to be Spillers and Ranks.  By 1924 Ranks had the controlling interest in at least eight other sizeable companies, in addition to its own mills, while Spillers controlled seven, manufacturing not only bread flour but also a range of other cereal products including dog biscuits.

In 1929 the Miller’s Mutual Association was formed through which flour output quotas were fixed and funds raised to buy out and close redundant mills.  This resulted in the larger milling companies acquiring smaller milling concerns and taking over their quotas.  By the end of 1933 Ranks controlled some 15 to 20 companies including the Associated London Flour Millers (ALFM), which had seven London mill members.

Things have changed significantly since then – and some times not for the better. The Daily Mail is reporting an old story abut gingerbreadmen being renamed gingerbread person.

So as we enter this year’s Poppy Appeal lets remember the sacrifices those before us made and forget the PC brigade who want us to change the name of childhood favourites..


South American, Chinese feed grain importers visit Southern states to forge relationships with U.S. suppliers

Two teams of feed grain industry importers – from South America and China – are in Minneapolis for Export Exchange before heading to the southern United States to meet with suppliers and exporters of U.S. corn, its co-products and sorghum. 

Export Exchange is a biennial educational and trade forum for U.S. feed grains that will host approximately 200 international buyers and end-users organized into 21 USGC trade teams. Both teams will meet with U.S. suppliers and get a chance to learn about current supply and demand for U.S. feed products.
The Council is working with the teams in cooperation with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP).

“We are excited to host the upcoming trade teams and grow our network at Export Exchange 2018 as sorghum exports have represented a large portion of the U.S. sorghum marketplace over the last few years,” said Florentino Lopez, Sorghum Checkoff executive director. “The Sorghum Checkoff is dedicated to building strong relationships between buyers and sellers, resulting in continued sorghum sales.”
Export Exchange is sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy, allowing these buyers to meet with U.S. sellers of corn, sorghum, barley, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten meal and corn gluten feed.
“At a time when the U.S is looking to create new trade agreements, highlighting the importance of international trade can be no better illustrated than by Export Exchange and the trade team visits before and after the event,” said Tom Sleight, USGC president and chief executive officer.

“It is essential for us to strengthen the bonds between suppliers and partner countries, and the connections made at this critical event will not only help propel our industry this year, but for years to come.”
In addition to networking opportunities, these attendees traveling to Export Exchange will be briefed on the global supply and demand situation, transportation issues and challenges, the global grains outlook, new advances in DDGS and poultry, food safety regulations, and agribusiness, the current U.S. policy environment and more.
Export Exchange also highlights the importance of strong trade policy and market development to U.S. agriculture. The Council, in partnership with USCP, works in more than 50 countries and the European Union to market U.S. grains and their related products and build long-term demand from loyal customers.
After Export Exchange, the South American team will visit Louisiana and Texas and the Chinese team will visit Missouri and Arkansas to learn more about the U.S. marketing system for feed grains and co-products and for specialized crop tours of the 2018 corn harvest.
Over the course of their trade team activities, the members of the South American delegation will visit export facilities in New Orleans and an ethanol plant and corn and sorghum farms Texas. The Chinese delegation will visit corn and sorghum farms in Missouri, Arkansas and Texas as well as an ethanol plant, local elevators and transloading facilities. While visiting Export Exchange and these respective states, individuals on the teams have opportunities to directly do business and make connections to facilitate future sales.

This work is a critical piece of market development programs operated by the Council in more than 50 global markets, with funding from organizations like USCP, the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program in the U.S. farm bill.
“Our growers need the farm bill to cross the finish line as momentum is vital in farming and markets,” said Wayne Cleveland, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers executive director. “Farmers need to know the farm program rules for financing and planning intentions going forward, and continual funding of MAP and FMD are key to increasing market opportunities.”


Zheng Chang celebrates 100 years of innovation

Zheng Chang Group came together to celebrate 100 years of leading animal feed production in China. Perendale Publishers were represented at the auspicious celebrations by Tuti Tan, Circulation and Events organiser.

More than 100 dignitaries joined with senior staff members from Zheng Chang as they looked back on 100 years of innovation at the forefront of animal feed technology.

The atmosphere of the celebration was warm and the performances such as “Encouraging the New Era”, “Innovating the World” and “The Power of Endeavour” all represented Zheng Chang’s 100-year culture and century glory.

President Hao Bo gave a speech to the gathered delegation at the stadium in Liyang Jiangsu.

He said: “Innovation is the fount of Zheng Chang’s permanent development. Zheng Chang was founded by the name of Zheng Chang Oil Mill in 1918 and transformed into a public-private joint venture in 1956, and renamed Liyang Grain Machinery Factory in 1969.

“It was successfully restructured in 2003 into the Shanghai Zheng Chang International Machinery Engineering Company Ltd to start exploiting the international market we responded to the national “One Bet One Road” initiative in 2014, and founded Zheng Chan Brazil Co. Ltd in 2015 as the first base in South Africa.

“By then we had automated manufacturing, and filed in many gaps. Up to now Zheng Chang has grown into a national grain storage engineering company that specialises in offering stable, reliable storage projects and total solutions.”

He went on to outline Zheng Chang’s development, praising the “decades of professionalism and craftmanship” which has enabled Zheng Chang to become a “global leading feed equipment, storage equipment and integrated system service provider.”

“Zheng Chang has made groundbreaking achievements in many areas, such as having built more than 3600 feed and storage projects at home and abroad, attracted all types of global enterprises top invest in Liyang, and shared its fruits with others.

“In the past century full of hardships, Zheng Chang has grown so big and strong: the staff of Zheng Chang has moved ahead at a steady pace to continue the writing of the centennial history and create brilliance with the spirit of struggle, innovation, valiancy, pioneering and devotion with support and help from the leaders at all levels, our clients  and friends.

“Looking today we are in endless struggle – innovation has made Zheng Chang China’s only company with intellectual property rights for feed and storage equipment.”

Mr Hao Bo praised Zheng Chang’s core culture of “concentration, innovation, integrity, stability, harmony, value creation and result orientation.”

He said he hoped Liyang would become the “feed machinery capital of the world” and the “home of Chinese feed machinery.”

“Not only is Zheng Chang a time-honoured Chinese enterprise, but it is aspiring to go global on behalf of Chinese brands.

“Zheng Chang is growing into a leading wealth factory with sustainable profitability, to build a better future.”



De Wet Boshoff – The future of the African feed industry

De Wet Boshoff

De Wet Boshoff

De Wet Boshoff, of the Animal Feed Manufacturers’ Association, South Africa, spoke of the opportunities and challenges facing the African continent at the World Nutrition Forum in Cape Town.

Mr Boshoff said African continent is slowly but surely starting to perform economically. Ironically Africa weathered the financial crash of 2007-2008 because it is not fully integrated into the international network.

“The effect of the economic meltdown in 2007-2008 did not have such a negative effect as it had on the developed economies,” he said.

“While the developed world struggled to kick-start their economies after 2007-2008, and the majority are not fully functional at pre-2007 levels yet, some developing African economies outranked and, in some cases, still are outranking developed economies, although mindful that in most cases it was from a low economic growth and production basis.”

Positive economic growth gives way to an increase in demand due to an increase in job opportunities and therefore a higher pool of disposable income which in turn leads to an increase in demand for products and services, he said.

This higher demand is determined by a variety of variables all depending on the Living Standard Measure (LSM) group the consumer falls into. In most cases where economic growth takes place and disposable income per household increases, the consumer moves up to a higher LSM group due to a higher household income  (disposable) which causes higher demand due to being able to spend more.

Spending patterns of the LSM groups can differ dramatically with spending on food and food products normally at a considerably higher level in developing or 3rdworld economies than in developed 1stworld economies.

In the higher LSM group places like the United States spend 6.4 per cent of their disposable income on food or food products; Singapore 6.7 per cent and the UK 8.2 per cent. Whereas developing nations like Nigeria see as much as 56.4 spent on food and food products. Kenya spends 46.7 per cent; Pakistan spends 40.9 per cent and Algeria 42.5 per cent whereas Canada spends 9.1 per cent and Australia 9.8 per cent of disposable income on food and food products. Four of the top 20 animal feed producing nations in Africa feature on the list for spending the highest percentages on food and food products.

Colonisation played a big part in the formation of the African continent with developed countries scrambling to colonise parts of the African continent between the 1800’s and 1900’s but the colonisation was slowly reversed during the 1900’s.

“In the case of South Africa, South African became The Union of South Africa on May 31, 1910 and the independence as a republic came only on May 31, 1961. Thus, except for Egypt, the majority of our top 20 only became independent in the mid 1960’s, with some keeping close ties with their former colonial ruler for various reasons.”

The African continent is split into different economic blocks and various trade blocks have emerged such as the South African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“Measured against the time it took the whole process of the EU being established and fully functional, it is still a daunting task for the African economic blocks to get themselves organised and up and running,” said Mr Boshoff.

Some of the economic blocks are starting to work together but they are doing so from a very low base and disposable income remains the main inhibitor. The economic growth shown is an outstanding indicator of the possibilities but:

“The fact that there is a demand for your product or service remains one of the top considering factors when investing in production infrastructure and production capacity for feed and food products. This, because you want to have the comfort of knowing that there are consumers using your final product.”

Mr Boshoff asked if the value supply chain is working well?

“It will be senseless to invest in the best equipment and infrastructure if the upstream and downstream value chain partners are non-existent.”

Transport of raw materials into the plant and then transport to get the feed to farms are also an important part of the chain.

Being properly prepared can enable you to take advantage of the challenges and turn them into opportunities, said Mr Boshoff. It is important to network, not just nationally but internationally as well.

The South African Animal Feed Manufacturers’ Association (AFMA) has started a process to establish a national feed association in every SADC member state. The SADC initiative would also be driven to make new link ups and contacts with other African structures.

The principles and purpose behind the formation of SAFMA and a national association in each country are the following:

  • Better structured, coordinated and informed industry
  • Bringing the different feed legislation closer to equivalence
  • Promoting training, skills development and feed safety among all members
  • Uplifting the internationally accepted manufacturing practices among all
  • Cooperation within the region to secure food security and food safety for all


Mr Boshoff concluded by saying South Africa is in an anomalous position – producing feed on a developed world standard while being ion a developing economy. The European Partnership Agreement signed by the EU and the SADC made free trade a reality. South Africa needs to face the challenges head on.

“The region should get itself well organised in many ways to stand their ground, which would be possible if the cooperation between industries and governments can be brought to a level where they work as a team for their country and their region, moving away from the phenomena of everyone working in their own little silo, with no strategic lateral vision, which is starting to show, but at a too sluggish pace.”