Multi-million upgrades for Tyson and Cargill

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Multi-million upgrades for Tyson and Cargill

Related tags Tyson fresh meats Meat Livestock Beef

Two major US processors have invested in multi-million dollar projects to upgrade their beef processing facilities.

Tyson Fresh Meats is upgrading its Dakota City beef plant with state-of-the-art slaughter and process technology, while Cargill has invested $6.1m on a new boiler system at its beef processing plant at Plainview, Texas. 

Tyson’s Dakota City beef plant is its largest beef processing site and employs approximately 4,000 people. The improvements - due to be completed mid 2013 - include the construction of a new beef slaughter area, as well as improvements to the beef carcase cooler, rendering and handling operations.

Tyson said that the investment will create 200 extra production jobs at the Dakota City plant and improve capacity at the site. However, it warned that this will come at the cost of 400 jobs at the company’s satellite beef plant in Dennison, which may close once improvements to the Dakota City plant are complete.

Noel White, senior group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats, said: “It’s difficult to consider the possibility of closing our Denison plant, given the impact on our people, the plant’s long history in the meat industry and the tremendous support we’ve received from the community over the years. However, unless area cattle supplies increase significantly or we find an alternative use for the facility, it may make economic sense to discontinue operations there next year.”

Cargill improves efficiency

Meanwhile, the new boiler system installed at Cargill’s Plainview plant includes components that continuously regulate the fuel and oxygen mixture to optimise heating efficiency, a condensing economiser that helps minimise heat loss that otherwise reduces efficiency and a new biogas blending system.

The company said that the new system will allow it to improve energy efficiency and competitiveness and claimed that the boiler has already reached an efficiency of 92%, which is an improvement of 19% over the aging system it replaced.

Scott Hartter, vice president of Cargill environment, health and safety for the company’s Wichita-based meat businesses, said: “The new Plainview boiler system represents the most advanced combination of renewable energy use with the ultimate level of efficiency.”

Cargill has invested $50m in processing plant efficiency projects at Plainview over the past five years. The plant now generates 30% of the fuel it needs through a biogas recovery system which collects methane gas from wastewater treatment ponds. The 2,000 staff at the site have also adopted a behaviour-based energy management system to reduce energy use.

Jim Rathke, vice president and general manager at Plainview. said: “Being part of America’s agricultural sector that feeds millions of people in the US and internationally, we believe it is crucial to respect the resources we use to produce beef. Natural resources including land, water and air contribute to the success of our business, and they will never be taken for granted.”

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