SENECA FALLS, N.Y. — Processing oilseeds on-site to produce feed and fuel makes sense. Among the scores of vendors at the recent Empire Farm Days, Energrow showcased its new on-farm ES3750B Oilseed Pressing System. The system processes oilseeds such as soybeans, canola, flax, sunflower seed, rapeseed, linseed, sesame seed, mustard seed and similar seeds. “There’s a lot of high costs farmers are facing and this guarantees the price more by pressing their own,” said founder Jasmin Hofer. “Instead of selling soybeans and buying them back as feed, they’ll know what the costs are. They’re not just reducing the cost of the feed, but they’re extracting the oil to cut their fuel costs.” Plus, farmers can choose when they want to process oilseeds.“Energrow systems are turn-key and automated, enabling producers to keep to their busy daily routines,” Hofer said. “It’s very straightforward with a touch-screen control panel. They don’t need to know any temperature setting to change crops. Just press the buttons and it will automatically change the temperature.” With little learning curve to operate, and auto start/stop features, the ES3750B is up and running quickly and it allows farmers to focus on other areas of their ag operation instead of babysitting a machine all day. The machine can even call farmers’ cell phones to notify them of a problem during its operation. “Every two to three weeks, they should take a look inside,” Hofer said. “It self-lubricates, so there’s very little maintenance. If it shuts off and they need to open it up, it’s easy to do. It takes about 15 minutes.” Energrow’s Oilseed Pressing System generates no waste through its cold-pressed oil method. The machine’s compact size and quiet operation also add to its appeal. Farmers can use its two by-products, meal and vegetable oil. The former provides a palatable, high-energy pellet feed. Soybean meal, for example, has been shown to increase milk production in dairy herds and support weight gain in pigs and chickens. Vegetable oil can be used as an eco-friendly fuel, crop spray or in other industrial applications. The equipment costs about $20 per ton to operate for electricity, operating time and machine wear and tear. Its purchase price is $30,000. “Typically, for a dairy herd of 75, it would pay for itself in years or less,” Hofer said. One ton of soybeans yields 2,000 pounds of soy extract for soybean meal and 21 gallons of filtered oil to use as fuel. The machine processes one ton of feed in 24 hours, enough to feed about 300 cows for a day. Energrow was founded in 2006 by Hofer, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Honours Arts Co-op from the University of Waterloo with a specialization in language and international Trade. Hofer grew up on a dairy farm and said she understands the tight margins with which dairymen operate. The firm is located in Newton, Ontario.
Deborah Jeanne Sergeant, New York Correspondent
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