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Oil presses/Soybean extruders

6523 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  palani
I have a good friend in Missouri who is very tuned in to the livestock feed and grain markets and availabilities on the organic level.
He and I never run out of things to talk about.
One topic that does frequently come up between us is the possibility of setting up a local grain elevator of sorts, offering organic grains and feed supplements, as well as some of the mechanical services that grain elevators have offered in the past. Grain cleaning, corn shelling and soybean extrusion are three of the more common services, the latter generally being available only at specialized dealers, few and far between. It used to be much more common when every farmer had a few hogs on the farm. I have gone with my friend a couple times when he took his beans in to be extruded. The process involves running the beans through a very heavy duty screw auger, similar to that found in a meat grinder, but much heavier duty and at a much higher rate of speed. The process just about atomizes the soybean for the pressures and friction that the bean is subjected to. Beans have a nutrient inhibitor that all but eliminates a mammal's ability to utilize the high protein content.
That inhibitor is neutralized by heat. This is why we cook beans before consuming them. The heat generated by a soybean extruder is sufficient to kill the inhibitor at just under 300 degrees F for around thirty seconds. The standard practice at an extruder service is to run the customer's beans through the machine, reducing the bean to high grade soy meal, a valuable protein supplement common in livestock feeds. The resultant oil that comes off the press is retained by the business for their use or sale, and the customer is charged so much per bushel for the process. Setting up such a press and offering the service to local farmers would be a very simple way to generate large quantities of vegetable oil for biodiesel.

As for machine specs, there are several different sizes of oil press offered for sale on Ebay, all coming from what looks to be the same manufacturer. They each give a tons per day production spec, power requirement spec, and weight of the machine. The only other crucial spec that concerns me is whether or not these "oil presses" generate the requisite heat for neutralizing the protein inhibitor, as the commercial models used here in the states do.
One of the mid-sized machines is offered for sale in Kentucky, and there is a phone number. 270-879-8351
The presses in question are also advertised as being able to efficiently press oil from rapeseed, cottonseed, sunflower seeds, etc.
I was hot on this topic several years ago, but lost interest due to more pressing issues at the time, but some local developments have acutely renewed my interest. It turns out that Archer Daniels Midland, probably the largest pusher and manufacturer of such things as high fructose corn syrup in the world, is buying out a very high percentage of the local elevators for the purpose of Walmarting the grain markets across the Midwest. This is not a bad thing, given the scope of the socio-political landscape currently just over the horizon. It is to be expected, even. I see it merely as an eye opener and opportunity for the diligent to take action. My preference would be to procure the 6-8 tons per day model, which comes to just under 4 grand, with shipping included, available from Kentucky.
We'll see if we can come up with those funds while the machines are still available. In the mean time, if anyone comes up with a better model or good used equipment, let us know.|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1308|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318
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Bio-diesel is your friend here - a lot of tinkerers are getting into those presses, making them & info much more available.

My understanding is that soybeans are kinda difficult to run through them, some other oil crops are easier?

For the livestock angle, have you looked into roasters? You can roast the beans, leave the oil in, and makes good feed.

Depends if you can find a good market for the oil, or just want max livestock feed.

There is a farmer in MN that does just what you are planning, but on a private scale. He grows sunflower seeds presses them for the oil to product enough to power his tractors and the meal is fed to his cattle. He also presses for a couple of neighbors and he said there's not enough hours in a day to do it all. He doesn't covert his oil to biodiesel, but blends it with gas to bring it's viscosity down to that of #2 diesel.

Wouldn't extruding oil for food use be more profitable? Maybe the regs are too much to afford?
Looked into this a few months ago. For my purposes there was not enough oil extruded from the soybeans. Seems like it was around 5% by weight (subject to correction due to a faulty memory). Anyway there was just about enough vegetable oil extracted to deliver the meal to the nearest bulk buyer. Unless we were able to develop a local purchaser for the meal it just wasn't worth the effort. We have been using filtered used vegetable oil all summer in the tractor, combines and field pick-up (those that never get on the roads and would be subject to all kinds of regulations) all summer with no problems.
The amount of oil in soybeans runs around 20%, but that can vary by the pressing method and variety.

I visited a new farmer owned extruding mill just a few weeks ago. he had two each 100,000 bushel bins, a new seed cleaner, a double setup of extruders and the ability to store the oil and to store the meal. A local animal feed mill was buying all his meal and the oil was leaving the facility as he was having difficulty complying with the zoning at his farm to make biodiesel. It was thought that the facility cost in excess of $750,000 and the output was 65 gallons of oil per hour. It was stated he would get approximately 1 gallon of oil per bushel of beans. I had difficulty understanding how a profit was to be made. Later I found out that the federal government was paying $1.38 per gallon subsidy.
We press beans at the mill where I work, and I have 2 customers that have their own presses.

The goverment is now paying $1/gal, and you are right about the 1 gal per bu.

We press soybeans where we work, and my customers both grow/press canola.

While you are going to be paying some money to get into it, it is no where near $750K.

Organic soybean meal, in this area, is selling for just under $1,000/ton.
I agree in that a 750,000 dollar start-up investment would be somewhat impractical, especially as we have no interest in a "profit".
Sustainability in community is our only objective.
Small, used grain bins are cheap. Oil extruders are available for the price of a used car.
The ability to convert raw, oil-based and high protein seed crops to their useful end would be the difference between prosperity and base survival in the event that the establishment that we have foolishly come to trust really does play out to it's logical end, i.e. monumental and irreparable collapse.
Whatever we have available to us today, wisely utilized, will be all the difference when the long overdue correction comes, and only the diligent survive.

What I find intriguing about the oil press industry and availability is the fact that these units were somewhat common, pto-driven and otherwise, not so long ago in this country. Now they are all but impossible to find, and I've yet to come across one US manufacturer that still produces these machines.
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Well I checked into my number of $750,000 and found that to have the ability to extrude 125 bushels per hour that my $750,000 is too low. The 2 each 100,000 bushel bins were over $400,000 . The scales to weigh the trucks, the equipment to determine the quality of the beans and amount of trash coupled with the unloading pit and the bucket elevator and the seed cleaner plus the 2 each 125 HP extruders and the controlling electronics that feed the extruders plus the buildings for housing the equipment and the storage facilities for the meal and the finished extruded oil exceeded $1,000,000. It is going to be a slow return on the investment.
Kind of off topic but for those interested in pressing small amounts of oil for their own personal use here is a manual oil press.
Not at all off topic.
Your submission comes much closer to the size of operation I had in mind.

1-5 tons per grain processed daily would be plenty.
I had envisioned pickup trucks bringing several five gallon buckets each, on average. Being handy for neighbors to mutual benefit is more important to me than anything remotely resembling a commercial scale operation.
Lets not set our goals or expectations so high that they are unattainable.
It is going to be a slow return on the investment.
Don't forget to add $125k for the continuous screw press. You don't get much oil out of an extruder.
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