On Friday I went to my local feed store to find out which mills produced what so I could get a new feed that was not produced in the same mill as the TC feed. It was an illuminating conversation, to say the least.
I hadn’t bothered to tell my feed store about the problems with corn and oats in the Triple Crown Sr because it wasn’t their fault, they just sell the stuff. This was a problem with the mill. I had told Triple Crown about the problem and trusted that they would handle it. After finding metal in my bag, I did tell my dealer because I wanted to avoid that mill. I knew most mills produce more than one brand of grain, what I didn’t realize is how little consistency there is with where brands are produced.
My dealer was extremely helpful, and was easily able to rattle off which feeds came from which plants. My Triple Crown is produced in a Blue Seal plant, not Purina as is commonly thought. Triple Crown is apparently notorious for skipping from mill to mill like the “village bicycle” of feed brands, they’ve been produced out of nearly every mill around. The good thing about this is that every major brand now knows the TC formulas because they’ve made the stuff, so every major brand has a version of TC Sr. It makes choosing a replacement from a different mill really easy.
My dealer was surprised to hear about my issues, though, as both the TC and Blue Seal sales representatives had been in recently and hadn’t mentioned anything.
So, she called the Blue Seal rep to find out what was up, since Blue Seal runs the mill. The Blue Seal rep hadn’t heard a peep from TC. My dealer gave me the Blue Seal rep’s number so I could forward on my pictures.
To their credit, the Blue Seal rep was very helpful. I spoke with her at length about the milling processes and products. It turns out there are two types of mills: one produces the “sweet feed” type products and another produces the cooked, extruded pellet type products. The mills that produce cooked, extruded pellets have much tighter quality control than those producing sweet feed types. This also means that feeds from the same company can be produced in completely different mills.
In the end, I decided to try Blue Seal’s Sentinel LS. It’s a cooked and extruded pellet, so it’s produced in one of the facilities with tighter quality control. It’s also very similar to the TC Sr formula. The rep didn’t come right out and say it was a dupe for TC Sr, for obvious reasons, but it was heavily implied. It didn’t hurt that they’re sending me free bags of the stuff, too. If this feed doesn’t work out, my feed store was also able to recommend several other feeds that are similar to TC Sr and produced in a different mill.
The take home message here is that it doesn’t really matter what brand you feed, because the mill can screw everything up and there is little consistency with which brands are produced in which mills. Many of the brands contract out to the various mills and bounce around a lot. Different lines of one brand may even be being produced in different facilities. Make friends with your local feed dealer, because they can tell you which feeds are being produced out of which facilities if you have a problem with a certain feed.
I am, however, extremely disappointed in Triple Crown’s handling of this situation. I understand that the problem is with this particular mill, but for Triple Crown to never have informed the mill to take action to fix it is absolutely inexcusable. They’ve lost a customer here.