Roto-Mix & Karan Beef

Roto-Mix Assists South African Customer with Feedlot Expansion

DODGE CITY, KANSAS… Roto-Mix® was honored to assist Karan Beef with an expansion project for their Heidelberg, South Africa feedlot.

In the midst of a global recession, Karan Beef have taken a strategic decision to expand its operation by 30%! A massive achievement that has been attained by dedicated commitment of their team and valuable business relationships built up over the last 35 years.

One of the many such relationships is the Roto-Mix® / Karan Beef relationship.

With the latest feedlot expansion complete, the challenge for the feed mill was to increase the output capacity by 30%. Not an easy task, as the feed mill was already running at 90% of the designed 120 ton per hour production. The only option was to increase the capacity of the feed mixer wagons.

During the original construction of the feed mill in 1997, Ivor Karan traveled to America to investigate alternative feed mixers to the ones that Karan Beef were operating at the time. On this trip 14 – 700-16 Roto-Mix® units were bought and imported to South Africa. A strong bond was formed between Ben Neier and Ivor within the business relationship. Both Roto-Mix® and Karan Beef are family owned and operated companies founded on similar core values, built up over many years from humble beginnings.

In 2001, four more 700-16 Roto-Mix® units were added to the fleet, another two were added in 2002, with a further two Roto Mix units added in 2007. The initial feedlot expansion planning set out in 2008 was to take the feed mill capacity to 100%, and for this 2 more Roto-Mixers were required. However this expansion plan increased very quickly based on market requirements and opportunity. It was clear that the feed mill would have to increase beyond the original design capacity

A decision was taken to purchase two 920-18 Roto-Mix® units as opposed to the planned two 720-16 Roto Mix units. The 920-18 Roto Mix units have an increased volume capacity of 27% giving the potential to meet the feed mill growth requirement. Karan Beef approached Roto-Mix® and asked that they travel to South Africa to assist with the evaluation of the larger Roto-Mixers. Ben is semi retired and was unfortunately not able to make the trip. However Rod Neier has followed in his father’s footsteps and as President of Roto-Mix®, LLC flew out to investigate with Karan Beef the possibility that the larger Roto-Mixers would in fact meet the capacity increase requirements. Myron Ricke – Scale Manager at Roto-Mix®, LLC joined Rod to evaluate the current computer scale system.

Over four days Rod and Myron spent time with the team at Karan Beef. Feeding time studies, mixing times, filling times, diesel usage and Karan Beef custom requirements were carried out and looked into. At the same time both teams evaluated the new computer scale system. The system capabilities, data transfer and radio signal efficiencies were evaluated for the specific Karan Beef feedlot conditions.

The results pointed to what seemed obvious from the outset; replacing the fleet with the new 920-18 Roto-Mixers and upgrading the computer scale system is the answer to the capacity challenge at the feed mill. A critically important point in the decision is the reliability and low maintenance of the Roto-Mix® units. Some of the spares brought out with the first Roto-Mixers 12 years ago are still in stock and the workshop is able to offer the feed mill a running availability in excess of 90% on the Roto-Mixers! It is a testament to Roto-Mix® workmanship and quality that every one of the 22 units in operation at Karan Beef, freighted from Dodge City to Heidelberg, were off-loaded, hooked up to the tractors and commenced with operation immediately without any problems or adjustments necessary!

With the work done it was off to Karan’s Camp in the Timbavati. On each game drive Rod was treated to Ivor recalling memories of the previous two trips Ben and he were privileged to share. The game drives did not go by without the threat of negotiating and concluding business in predatory company however! On Saturday morning after a fantastic game drive Rod and Ivor sat down in the camp lounge and finalized the deal. An extra twenty 920-18 Roto-Mix® units and computer scale systems were purchased. While Roto-Mix® holds a dominant market share position in the American feed mixer market, this deal is their largest single order placed to date and gives insight into the size and importance of the transaction.

Rod and Ivor shook hands on the deck of the lounge to conclude this mammoth deal. No contract necessary between two companies, two families, who operate out of mutual respect and honor! It just seemed fitting that the elephant herd decided to grace the occasion by visiting the waterhole, overlooked from the lounge deck, while the hand shakes cemented the relationship and the purchase.

Ron Neier and Ivor Karan
With elephant in the background epitomizing longevity, stability and the continual drive to move forward – Rod Neier and Ivor Karan shake hands.
  Dodge City Plant
Roto-Mix® employees from their Dodge City Plant proudly stand in front of six units awaiting shipment to Karan Beef in South Africa.

Karan Beef LogoKaran Beef aspires to maintain its distinction as the premier supplier of the highest quality beef and beef products available in South Africa and to continue to assume the leadership role in setting the benchmark of quality for the South African beef industry. Karan Beef seeks to be recognized for the commitment of its people to the highest standards of productivity, hygiene, house keeping and general maintenance. Karan Beef desires to position itself for sustainable growth in line with the demand by its consumers.

Our roots are planted firmly in the soil, it is both our heritage and our future. When we first began feedlotting on the Karan family farm our herd numbered less than 100 head of cattle. But that was way back in 1974. Over the years the capacity of our feedlot has increased to accommodate over 130 000 head of cattle - making the Karan Beef feedlot the largest in Africa. The past twenty five years has seen great changes at our Heidelberg farm, just south of Johannesburg in South Africa, as it has expanded to accommodate the changing needs of our blossoming feedlot business. Our purchase of three adjoining farms increased the overall size of our estate to 2330 hectares - not only accommodating the growing feedlot, but also allowing for the evolution of our facilities into a fully integrated business unit.

This expansion has also allowed us to establish a game farm and wetland eco-development which, while providing us with invaluable Silent Environmental Services, has also become a significant attraction in its own right and now plays home to one of the widest selections of water fowl found anywhere in Southern Africa

As our business grew we undertook the construction of the largest Feedmill of its kind in the world. Making use of the very best design techniques and technology available, our Feedmill now occupies an area of 15 000 square meters and is capable of producing up to 1 400 tons of mixed feeds per day.

With the changing face of the deregulated South African meat industry we were able to purchase an abattoir in the town of Balfour. This facility is close to the feedlot and a mere 75 kilometres from Johannesburg. Having extensively modernized the abattoir it is now used exclusively for the slaughter of animals from the Karan Beef feedlot and the processing of those carcasses into a wide range of beef products.

The purchase of the Balfour Abattoir prompted us to establish a marketing and distribution centre in Johannesburg. With it's extensive cold store and freezer facilities, our City Deep Distribution Centre allowed us to complete the supply chain and has helped secure for the Karan Beef Group it's position as the largest fully integrated beef production organization in Africa.

Roto-Mix LogoRoto-Mix® is a leading manufacturer of livestock feed mixing equipment for the beef cattle and dairy industries. Roto-Mix® also manufacturers and markets a complete line of manure spreaders as well as compost mixers and spreaders for municipal and industrial applications. The Company is headquartered in Dodge City, Kansas and has an additional manufacturing facility in Hoisington, Kansas as well as an additional company owned store in Scott City, Kansas. Roto-Mix® markets their product lines through a network of dealers located throughout the world and has distributed its products to over 35 foreign countries. The Company has a distinguished reputation for innovative product development and holds numerous domestic and foreign patents. Roto-Mix® offers the most complete line of feed mixers in the industry including Rotary, Auger and Vertical mixers in sizes ranging from 80 to 1,500 cubic feet.

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