The Prestage Farms process
Prestage Farms will process 100 turkeys per minute [6,000 tph], divided over two 50 tpm processing lines. The whole primary process is double. Only male turkeys (toms) are processed, as the US turkey market concentrates on cut-up products coming from male turkeys for all of the year except Thanksgiving, when the focus is on whole hens. US toms weigh about 45 lbs [22 kilos], whereas hens weigh approximately 14 lbs [6 kilos].
Prestage Farms uses Marel's specialized turkey immersion scalder to prepare products for the plucking process. Four different techniques are combined in the plucking line, including counter-rotation, typical for turkey defeathering. This made-to-measure Marel configuration leads to a great plucking result.
Defeathering complete, products are transferred to the evisceration line.
Venting and cropping
Prestage Farms' evisceration department features two fully automated lines. Marel recently overhauled its turkey evisceration portfolio and now offers a program tailored to the market, which really makes a difference. A Marel fully automated evisceration department offers high performance, labor savings and optimal ergonomics.
Apart from the automatic eviscerator, the vent cutter and the cropper are two important machines for turkey evisceration. Marel's vent cutter is highly rated for its excellent performance. It comes with a unique vacuum system that cleans part of the intestines, minimizing cross-contamination.
Cropping used to be a labor-intensive operation in turkey evisceration. At 2x 50 tpm, a manual cropping operation would take about 14 people. They would have to do a physically very demanding job. The Marel neck cropper now automates this job, boasting an outstanding performance record on heavy toms.
The Marel evisceration lines also include the new turkey vent opener, the three-point suspension system and the neck cracker.