Our alfalfa comes from 2 sources; grown ourselves or from our sister plant a couple hours north of our location. Neither location uses any pesticides or sprays of any kind on the alfalfa or during its processing. All processing is done at these 2 facilities. We do not purchase pellets from outside sources.
Feed vs Fertilizer
Our sister plant focuses on export feed markets, while we cover the domestic feed and fertilizer markets, including all the packaging and re-grinding, R&D, marketing and sales.
Farm Manager, Frazer Will, checking an organic field to ensure quality alfalfa growth.
Dehy Alfalfa Processing
Our mower in action. Alfalfa is to be brought in green for dehy processing. Swaths are freshly cut and after drying for a day, the hay is raked into nice, even swaths for pickup.
The hay is about 36% moisture at this point. It is loaded into large trailers and hauled to mill for processing.
The dehy trailer unloads the crop onto our mill pad. Due to the high moisture content, the pile of fresh dehy will be processed within hours and the loader will continually turn the hay to prevent “heating”.
From here the dehy is fed through our grinder and then straight to high heat dryers and hammermill; using only pressure and steam, the pellets are formed. The extremely high heat has two benefits; first, it allows the production of pellets without requiring the addition of binders and second, the heat destroys any weed seed viability in the incoming alfalfa hay. The final product is a very dark green, high-quality, seed-free pellet.
Dehy production only occurs for a short time each season. The majority of our processing is from baled alfalfa. This hay is left for a longer period in swaths on the field to dry naturally under the sun, hence the name “Suncure”. The moisture content in the bales is much lower than the fresh dehy, allowing us to store the bales for a more flexible production schedule. The final processing method for the suncured hay is exactly the same as above.
The colour and quality of the alfalfa in the bale is checked.
Bales are ground in preparation for processing. Hay is still green in colour but does not compare to the vibrant green of the fresh dehy.
End Result: Alfalfa Pellets
The final product is quality, organic alfalfa pellets. There are 3 sizes available:
1⁄4” Pellets – we still reference size in imperial measurement as this pellet is mostly sold as animal feed where most of these customers still refer to imperial measurements. The 1⁄4” pellet is also sold as non-feed, under the trade name Alpha Green, if the buyer prefers the larger pellet.
4mm Pellets – this size is excellent for reclamation companies, vegetable growers, golf courses, market gardens, municipalities, organic farmers, fertilizer manufactures and retailers, which all tend to use the metric system.
Meal – reground pellets. This process produces the consistent texture and bulk density required for this value-added product. The meal can be very dusty, and somewhat difficult to work with, but is highly sought after by fertilizer manufactures for their specialty blends of organic-based fertilizers.