General Questions

Question: What is the purpose of the NCI?
Answer: The NCI is a center for promoting the value of our northern grown crops to domestic and international markets and for bringing information back to producers and academia to help meet their needs.

Question: Where does the NCI find simultaneous interpreters for short courses?
Answer: The sponsoring organization, such as U.S. Wheat Associates, U.S. Grains Council, USA Dry Pea and Lentil Association, and U.S. Soybean Association, make the arrangements. Most interpreters reside on the East Coast.

Question: Which languages are translated most frequently?
Answer: A large majority of the individuals attending short courses possess a second language. As a result, the number of languages is quite small. Over the years, the most common languages have been Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and French.

Question: What are the most important things to remember when hosting people from other countries?
Answer: Be respectful of their culture, customs, and most importantly, political opinions should not be discussed. Our goal is to make sure our guests have a pleasant experience and leave with a positive image of Americans.

Technical Services

Question: Why does the NCI have a pilot-scale twin-screw extruder?
Answer: To help demonstrate the functional characteristics of the crops grown in Northern U.S. States, and to provide technical capabilities for the evaluation of new ingredients and the development of new products for the food industry as well as academia.

Question: What products can be made in the twin-screw lab?
Answer: The twin-screw extruder can make a wide range of products: corn curls (a puffed corn snack typically coated with a cheese powder), flaked breakfast cereals, expanded breakfast cereals

Question: Why does the NCI have pilot-scale durum milling and pasta processing facilities (equipment)?
Answer: We need facilities such as this to evaluate and promote the quality and value of our durum for semolina and pasta production on equipment that provides information that can be transferred to full-scale production scale equipment.

Question: What products can be made in the pasta lab?
Answer: The pasta lab can make extruded pasta products, such as spaghetti, linguine, lasagna, elbows, ziti, rotini, among other shapes.

Question: How much pasta can you make?
Answer: The extruder will typically produce about 65 kg/hr of pasta (when dried), however, only about 100 kg/day can be dried.

Question: How do you get repeatable color readings for spaghetti and pasta products?
Answer: Spaghetti needs to be placed flat and pushed close together so there is less shadow. The tighter the products are together the more repeatable the value.

Question: How do you get the flour (or other ingredient) with the quality and functionality you want?
Answer: Work closely with your supplier and evaluate new shipments of flour when they arrive. Use quality control.

Question: Why does the falling number of wheat matter?
Answer: Wheat with a falling number below 300 has sprouted, producing an enzyme called alpha-amylase. Alpha amylase degrades starch gels and causes a gummy texture in bread.

Export Markets

Question: Why do certain export markets purchase Hard Red Spring wheat, and what are their quality needs?
Answer: U.S. Hard Red Spring (HRS) wheat has the highest protein content of bread wheats and is known world-wide for its excellent gluten protein strength. Products such as pan, hearth and specialty breads, Kaiser rolls, hamburger buns, bagels, pizza crusts, frozen doughs and partially baked breads require strong, yet extensible gluten protein quality to produce the highest quality products, especially in highly mechanized bakeries. Many of our export markets purchase HRS wheat to blend with their lower protein, domestic wheats to boost quality and performance, and most of the demand for U.S. HRS wheat is for 14% or greater protein. Other quality factors are also important, such as cleaner wheat (dockage specifications are now below 0.5% for many countries), low levels of mycotoxins (such as DON or vomitoxin), uniform kernel size (for optimum milling yield) and low sprout damage (for optimum milling and baking quality).

Question: Why is wheat production decreasing in the U.S. and specifically in the northern Great Plains states?
Answer: Wheat production has decreased in the U.S. for many reasons, the top one being price. Wheat production will increase if the prices improved. Also contributing to the reduction in Hard Red Spring wheat production deals with agronomic problems, such as plant diseases and pre-harvest sprouting during the past decade, which has forced producers to look for alternative crops such as soybeans, corn and canola to increase their profit potential.

Question: Why can't we receive the same quality of grain that we see in the farmer's storage bins?
Answer: As grain moves through the marketing channel, several things can happen. First, grain may change ownership several times; second, grain can transfer through several grain-handling facilities; and third, blending of similar quality may occur. To insure your desire of quality and appearance, writing specifications in purchase contracts is necessary.

Feed Production

Question: Does NCI sell commercial feed?
Answer: No, we do not. We would have an unfair price advantage in the marketplace.

Question: How much feed do you produce?
Answer: 2,000 – 2,200 tons/yr.; about 70% production and 30% experimental

Question: How much does it cost to produce feed?
Answer: Varies with the ingredients and processes used; Utility use was $8.07/ton in 2001

Question: Who do you make feed for?
Answer: The livestock units on the main NDSU campus - Beef, Dairy, Horse, Sheep, Swine. The livestock units of the Experiment Station's Research and Extension Centers - Beef, Swine and Fish.

Question: What types of feed do you produce?
Answer: Complete feeds for swine - production and experimental diets. Supplements and Concentrates for beef, dairy and sheep - production and experimental diets. Premixes for beef, dairy, sheep and swine – production and experimental diets

Question: What are the processing capabilities of the feed production center?
Answer: Size-reduction of whole grains, oil seeds and other materials; Hammer mills – stationary 50 hp 38” rotor, portable 10 hp 21” rotor; Roller grinder – 2 pair stack, differential drive; Mixing; Horizontal double ribbon mixers, 90 and 45 cubic feet capacity with liquid addition capability; Horizontal paddle mixer, 3-4 cubic feet capacity; Pelleting; California Pellet Mill hyflow model, 4 ton/hr capacity