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Midwest Ag Enterprises, TechMix honored

By Renae B. Vander Schaaf

Date Modified: 07/19/2013 8:47 AM

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MARSHALL, Minn. — A partnership with Protein Resources has enabled Midwest Ag Enterprises and TechMix to combine their knowledge to develop a product that potentially could increase feed value and digestibility of soybean proteins in livestock.

Midwest Ag Enterprises and TechMix have been selected Ag Innovator of the Year by the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.

Through a proprietary process, "NutriVance'' makes soybean proteins digestible for younger livestock and aquaculture species.

Soybean protein plays a vital role in rations, said Jim Moline, president of Midwest Ag Enterprises in Marshall. High fiber and carbohydrates limit soybean meal use in young animals and marine aqua species.

"We were looking for a way to develop higher value soy proteins," said Moline. "We sought to mechanically further process and refine the soybean in a cost effective manner."

Midwest Ag Enterprises has long been associated with exporting. They were the largest container exporter of DDGs in 2008. It was a high-volume, low-margin business, said Moline. The firm began looking at ways to enter the higher value animal feed protein market to distance themselves from being a commodity trading company.

The owners of Midwest Ag Enterprises purchased Protein Resources' drying facilities in West Bend, Iowa. PRI manufactures high-value protein products for swine and other young livestock animals.

Soon after that purchase, TechMix LLC, of Stewart, became partners of PRI to enhance marketing opportunities of the various products produced at PRI.

Through their combined efforts, a proprietary process to enhance the value of soybean meal was developed for livestock. The process removes 25 percent to 30 percent of the anti-nutrition properties of soybeans, concentrating the protein.

A lot of research had previously been done on the human side through developing milk formulas for infants. Not much research has been directed towards animal and aqua feeds for improving digestibility and performance of soy proteins.

The amino acids of protein provide the building blocks for muscle and tissue growth. A more digestible protein results in healthier, faster growing animals.

"NutriVance is designed to work in piglet diets, poultry chicks, aquafeed, pet foods and any other young animals," said Moline.

Aquaculture is a great opportunity for NutriVance in many countries worldwide, especially for marine species. Because of dwindling fish meal supplies, NutriVance should fit well into many of these formulations.

The first first product rolled off the production line at the plant in Galva, Iowa, on June 28. Moline expects to be in full production by August.

Midwest Ag Enterprises and TechMix will jointly promote the product worldwide.

He was quick to acknowledge the help they received from AURI and the Minnesota Soybean Council for their assistance in developing NutriVance along with their cost-share assistance.