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Master of Agribusiness

Flour Moisture Control for Maximum Water Addition

Chad Bontrager, Ooltewah, Tenn., defended his thesis, “Flour Moisture Control for Maximum Water Addition,” Friday, March 27, 2009. Bontrager is the Assistant Facility Manager at Cargill/Horizon Milling LLC in Chattanooga, Tenn. He graduated from Kansas State University in May with a Master’s in Agribusiness (MAB).

“The Masters of Agribusiness thesis gave me an opportunity to do some in-depth research and planning on flour moisture control, which is also an area that offers a lot of financial opportunity in the flour milling business. The end result is going to be implemented in the Chattanooga facility and has the potential to be used in all 22 of our North American facilities,” Bontrager said.

The objectives of his thesis were to identify the issues associated with flour moisture control and to determine how best to overcome these challenges in order to effectively control flour moisture. Accomplishing these objectives offers his flour mill the opportunity to improve efficiency and profitability, both of which lead to a competitive advantage in the flour milling industry.

There are many factors that effect flour moisture, including: wheat mix, age of wheat, ambient temperature, relative humidity, time spent in storage, and more.

Michael Langemeier, Agricultural Economics professor and Bontrager’s thesis advisor, said, “Chad took all of these factors into consideration when developing a tool that allows operators to determine the optimal water set point to achieve the desired flour moisture.”

The full thesis publication can be found online on K-State’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/11973.