US Wheat Nigerian Flour Milling Group Observes Modern US Agricultural Practices

For most Kansans, the site of wheat harvest is just another sign of the summer season. However, for someone who has never been to the wheat state before, it is a whole new view.

On June 17, 2014, the IGP Institute welcomed 13 participants to the U.S. Wheat Nigerian Flour Milling course. As a major U.S. partner with the Nigerian milling industry, Kansas State University’s IGP Institute annually hosts the Nigerian Flour Milling course in conjunction with U.S. Wheat Associates.

Accompanying the group on the trip was Cathy Marais, an accountant for U.S. Wheat in Nigeria.

“This is the sixth year of the U.S. Wheat-sponsored IGP Institute milling course for the Nigerian milling industry. Not only does this course allow the millers to keep up with technology and new ideas, but also takes them back to grass roots,”Marais says.


USW Nigerian Flour Milling group outside of the Cargill Elevator in Salina, Kan.

Throughout the two-week course, participants shared their time between classroom presentations and hands-on laboratories. The instructors of this course were Mark Fowler, course manager and IGP Institute’s associate director, and Francis Churchill and Chris Miller, grain science and industry instructors.

“The Nigerian market is extremely important to hard red winter wheat producers. From bread to noodles, the market is very diverse and quality-oriented. In this two-week course, we led participants through the entire milling process from selecting the right class and quality of wheat, to producing the correct quality of flour for various wheat-based products,” Fowler says.

The participants not only learned the milling processes from on-site trainings at the Hal Ross Flour Mill, but they also traveled to several locations in Kansas to learn more about the entire milling operation. Beginning the trip in Salina, Kan., at the Cargill Grain Elevator, participants learned the economics of storing grain and the management practices that must be followed in the facility.

“It was interesting to see some of the different standards that Americans have and be able to apply the materials that we learned in the classroom to the actual situation,” says Charles Assoh, course participant.

The group also traveled to Newton, Kan. to tour Ardent Mills and later returned to Salina to observe a Kansas wheat harvest and new equipment technology in action at the Kejr family farm.

Course participant, Chukwudi Elechukwu, waves to the group after taking a ride in the combine.

Course participant, Chukwudi Elechukwu, waves to the group after taking a ride in the combine.

This is one example of the customized trainings offered by the IGP Institute. In addition to the flour milling and grain processing curricula, IGP faculty also lead courses in the grain marketing and risk management, and feed manufacturing and grain management. To learn more about IGP Institute, visit the website at 

IGP Institute Hosts Basic and Advanced Milling Courses

When working in any aspect of the milling industry, it’s crucial to understand the fundamentals of the milling process. The IGP Institute strives to provide participants with quality resources and experiences.

The IGP-KSU Basic Milling Principles course took place June 3-6,2014 with seven participants, followed by the IGP-KSU Advanced Milling Principles course on June 10-13, 2014 with 11 participants. The first week focused on building a foundation of general understanding for all levels of milling expertise.

One participant, Andrew Garr, senior supply planter for Ardent Mills, took the course hoping to gain a better grasp of the entire milling process.

“I’m new to the flour industry,” says Garr,”I’ve only been working in it for a couple of years now and so without a milling background, I’m really just trying to get a better understanding of what is actually happening out there in the plant.”

Advanced Milling participants Asle Dismang (left) and Lim Wee Pin (right) work in the baking lab located in Shellenberger Hall on the K-State campus.

Advanced Milling participants Asle Dismang (left) and Lim Wee Pin (right) work in the baking lab located in Shellenberger Hall on the K-State campus.

While the basic course covered the essential portions of the milling process, the advanced course provided participants with a more in-depth experience in both the classroom and the mill. After the lecture portion of the course, the group was able to work through exercises involving purifiers, break releases and wheat labs.

“The advanced week provided participants with a better understanding of the milling process and trouble shooting skills,” says Mark Fowler, IGP Institute associate director and milling instructor. “We achieved this by an in-depth analysis of mill flow sheets and their design. We also went through a quantitative analysis of mill balance and production distributions.”

Partaking in both courses and traveling outside of his home country of Taiwan, Brian Suphananonta, assistant chairman at Chiao Thai Hsing Enterprise, completed these courses as part of the process of gaining milling credentials through the IGP Institute.

“I’ve been taking distance courses and getting my credential because they are very valuable to me. When you have credentials, people look up to it as a standard, especially the credential KSU offers because it is such a reputable university,” Suphananonta says.

This is one example of the courses offered by the IGP Institute. In addition to the flour milling and grain processing curriculum, IGP faculty also offers courses in grain marketing and risk management, and feed manufacturing and grain management. To learn more about IGP, visit the website at

Two Industry Professionals Join IGP Staff

The International Grains Program welcomes two new staff members, Patrick Hackenberg and Lisa Long, to fill the positions of Educational Media Coordinator and Event Coordinator, respectively. They joined the IGP team on May 28.

“I am excited to be welcoming Pat and Lisa to the IGP team. They bring significant experience and creativity to the IGP institute advancing our objective to deliver innovative and quality programs,” says Mark Fowler, IGP associate director.

As the Educational Media Coordinator, Hackenberg is responsible for managing graphics for course promotions and presentations, website analytics, IGP YouTube channel content, video support for course promotions, manager of the online reference library, among other tasks. In addition, Pat will be supporting our Distance Education Program through video and media development and integration.

A Kansas State University graduate, Hackenberg gained more than 22 years of involvement with the communications industry. Prior to joining IGP, he worked in the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education at K-State as a graphic designer. His experience also includes working with representatives from the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA to design a series of technical information reporting guides covering a variety of diseases currently affecting animals and humans.

“I’m looking forward to the new position that provides a chance for me to use my communications skills and the latest technology to help promote the International Grains Program at Kansas State University,” says Hackenberg.

Pat Hackenberg (left) and Lisa Long join the International Grains Program team filling the positions of Educational Media Coordinator and Event Coordinator.

Taking over the position of Event Coordinator, Long is responsible for planning, organizing and coordinating administrative and organizational details regarding all IGP activities. Also a graduate of Kansas State University, Long has had over 10 years of experience in planning and executing events for organizations.  Recently serving as program coordinator for the Global Campus at Kansas State University, Long has extensive training with logistics, design, and preparation for marketing onsite materials such as brochures, signs and fliers.

“I have a passion for lifelong learning, and I am certain this will be a great place to combine my event management, relationship management skills and knowledge of outreach education,” Long says. “As a Kansas farm girl, I have a deep respect for the impact that the International Grains Program and the grain science industry have on feeding people throughout the world.”

IGP offers standard courses in flour milling and grain processing, grain marketing and risk management, and feed manufacturing and grain management. For more information about IGP, visit

Establishing a HACCP Program

The International Grains Program held a HACCP course in conjunction with the American Feed Industry Association and the National Grain and Feed Association. Establishing a HACCP Program for the Feed Industry course took place April 14-17, 2014, with 38 participants in attendance.

Individuals involved in the regulations and management of feed safety and quality control were among those participating. The AFIA-NGFA-KSU-HACCP course was focused on understanding the feed industry regulations, the seven steps of HACCP principles, and learn how to develop and implement an effective HACCP program.

Image“The course provides the basic tools for feed millers and how to implement all the principles of HACCP step-by-step,” says Carlos Campabadal, IGP feed manufacturing program specialist and the course manager. “Participants leave with the right knowledge to develop a HACCP plan at their facility.”

Another valuable aspect of this course was the networking opportunities. Participants were able to discuss these topics among each other as well as with the presenters.

“The discussions that we had between the different companies was very important because we could figure out what we need to do in our company and talk about how other companies are handling different issues,” Jackie Lissolo, program manager at ICM, says.

This is just one example of the many partnership trainings offered through IGP. In addition to feed manufacturing and grain management, IGP offers trainings in the areas of flour milling and grain processing, and grain marketing and risk management. For more information visit the IGP website at


Learning the Techniques

The International Grains Program’s annual Grain Purchasing course is finishing up this week after two weeks of sessions, networking and field trips. ImageThe Grain Purchasing course started March 31 and wraps up on Friday, April 11, 2014. The course has been held at the International Grains Program Conference Center for the sessions. While in between the two weeks participants traveled to Portland, Ore., to an export facility and then traveled to the Chicago Board of Trade.

During the first week of sessions participants learned from industry professionals on contracting, transportation and logistics, and grain purchasing techniques. The second week is focusing on futures trading techniques, hedging and price risk management.

“Each of the key fundamentals that international grain buyers and traders need to know to conduct their business in a proper way are taught and discussed in this course,” Jay O’Neil, senior economist and course coordinator, says. “It is more than just educating people on how to write a contract and manage risk. ImageWe cover what professionals need to know to protect their company’s best interests and hopefully stay away from trouble.”

A participant from this year’s course, Theiva Muthu from Negeria, says he has learned valuable information at this course that relates directly to his role and would recommend it to his coworkers.

“Sixty percent of my time is invested into commercial sourcing with commodities and a lot of it comes from the U.S. I want to understand more about the sourcing and all the elements that go into it. It helps me understand my job and how to do it better,” Muthu says.

For more information, visit the IGP website at www.grains,


First Year Credentialing Program Graduates

A recent article published on the GEAPS website highlighted the success of the Credential in Grain Operations Management (CGOM) through the GEAPS/Kansas State University Credentialing Program. The first year of the program produced 14 graduates in the industry who were eager to learn and further their knowledge.

The CGOM is accomplished online through the GEAPS/K-State Distance Education Program partnership. The credential is made up of six courses and is the basic credential program. Specialist credentials are also obtainable in Property and Casualty Risk Management, Grain Quality Management, Grain Quality Management, and Grain Handling Equipment Management after the CGOM program is completed.

For the complete article visit GEAPS and for the 2014 course schedule click here.


Monitoring Break Roll Wear

How granulation curves may help choose optimal time to change rolls.

In this column, Nathan Watson, a senior majoring in milling science in the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University (KSU), Manhattan, offers a review of his study of how granulation curves can be used to monitor break roll wear. Wat­son first presented his findings at the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Wheat State, Texoma, and Central district meeting, March 7, Manhattan, KS. He also made a presentation at the 2013 IAOM Conference and Expo, May 2, in Niagara Falls, ON.  

Watson’s study and presentation were supervised by Chris Miller, instructor, Department of Grain Science and Industry, and Mark Fowler, a regular contributor to Milling Journal and associate director of the International Grains Program (IGP), Department of Grain Sci­ence and Industry, KSU.

Roll wear is a condition that every mill has to manage. Roll wear occurs on rolls when the corrugations wear down as a result of wheat or stock running through the rolls over a period of time.

Maintaining the corrugations on a roll is important for a mill. It helps to keep the mill in balance, maximize farina production in the break system, improve roll performance, and has the potential for energy savings.

On the other hand, roll maintenance is costly for the mill, as well. Changing out a roll pair causes downtime for a mill. There is expense in shipping and re-corrugating the roll pair, labor to replace the roll, and inventory to keep spare rolls and parts on hand for quick changes.

Granulation Curve

Therefore, finding an optimal time between roll changes to minimize maintenance costs and minimize impact to milling performance could be helpful to mill managers.

The granulation curve is a useful tool that has the potential to examine changes over time in the mill. It illustrates the particle size distribution of the milled product for a specific ground stock.

The granulation curve is helpful in showing the mass flow of product throughout the mill.

There are many factors that can change the granulation curve of a milled product, including wheat type, temperature of the wheat and mill, tempering time and moisture, roll wear, mill load, and balance.

In this study, the theory was tested that roll wear should cause noticeable shifts in the granulation curve over time.

Specifically, as a roll wears down, the miller should have to decrease the roll gap, in order to meet the specified break release.

This wear should cause more compression on the stock through the roll. With an increase in compression, the granulation curve shift should show an increase in fine particles and a decrease in coarse farina over time.

Methods Employed

Two local mills that run hard red winter wheat flour agreed to provide samples in this study.

The mills are labeled “Mill A” and “Mill B.” The samples are of ground stock from first break and second break roll stand in each mill on a specific day. A sample of wheat going into the first break roll was included as well.

Sifting and analysis were performed at KSU’s Department of Grain Science and Industry milling laboratories.

First, the wheat was analyzed with the Single Kernel Characterization System (SKCS) for hardness, moisture, weight, and diameter.

Then, each stock for individual passages was sifted. Sifting was performed on a Great Western tabletop sifter box.

The first sifting used sieves with 1041-, 355-, 240- and 132-micron screens. The sample was sifted for two minutes. The weight of each stock on each sieve then was recorded, and the material on top of a 355-micron sieve was saved for a second sifting.

This second sifting analyzed the sizing stock further using 900-, 750-, 630-, 500- and 425-micron sieves. This stock also was sifted for two minutes. The weights then were recorded for each sieve.

One data set that had to be generated was the age of a roll pair, when each stock was collected.

Each stock was collected on a specific day, and the previous roll change was recorded and associated with that sample.

The difference between the stock collection date and the date of the previous roll change gave the age of the roll pair in days after a roll change. This helped to assign consistent ages to compare each curve.

When reviewing the data, it was concluded that Mill A should be our primary focus in this study due to longer average roll life for first break and second break, up to 650 days. This longer time period would be better for our analysis on how changes that occur to the rolls over time.

Granulation Curve Analysis

Once all the data were collected, granulation curves were generated for each break system in each mill.

One observation made was that because of how staggered the roll changes are, and how short of a collection period was utilized, there were several gaps in the roll age that could not be observed. Therefore, selecting data for granulation curve generation was difficult.

However, points were selected and analyzed to space the days evenly over the roll life. Each day includes all data points within +/-5 days of that selected point. The cumulative percent overs were averaged and made into a granulation curve for that period.

In Fig. 1, the granulation curve is generated for Mill A first-break stock. The time periods selected for analysis were days 0, 210, 420, and 600.

One major observation for this stock is some variability in the break release. For example, break release has a major impact in the granulation curve, and this may have impacted the efforts to determine how roll wear could shift the granulation curve.

Fig. 2 shows the granulation curves for second-break stock on Mill A over the roll life.

The break release for this stock is more consistent than the first-break stock. This granulation curve shows much tighter fitting curves. It is difficult to see any changes that determine any effects roll wear has on the curves.

Quantitative Stock Analysis

We moved ahead hoping that the amount of stock produced on specific sieve sizes would indicate better how the individual rolls performed.

For this analysis, the focus was on the second-break stock of Mill A and reducing the variability introduced by the wheat.

The theory is that second-break roll stock may be more consistent by being ground previously, as compared to wheat fed to the first-break roll with variation in hardness and kernel size.

The chart in Fig. 3 shows two trend lines. The top or the decreasing trend line is the percentage of second-break stock that passed through the 1,041-micron sieves and remained over the 500-micron sieve in the same samples.

What is observed is a small, approximately 2%, downward shift in particle size over roll life supporting the theory that roll wear impacts the granulation of ground stock.

Limitations of Study

Wheat variation, sampling procedures, and the changes in mill environment over the period of a year adds variability into this study.

Mill operation factors, including required adjustments to balance the mill flow and product quality, are other elements that introduce some variability to this study.

In the final graph, Fig. 4, the data shows how a change in break release can correlate to a change in flour production.

Over time, the second-break release varies, using a 20-point moving average. This change results in corresponding increases and decreases in flour production for these roll stands.

This shows how important a factor break release can have on the granulation of the stock.


Granulation curves are a way that roll wear can be monitored by a mill.

However, the results from this experiment are not conclusive. There are too many uncontrolled variables in the wheat and milling conditions to see a shift in the granulation from roll wear.

However, a shift in coarse and fine farina production was observed that could indicate roll wear.

Even still, too many variables play a factor in the determination. A controlled laboratory study would be necessary to eliminate some variables and to obtain more conclusive results.