Home n' Dry
Based in Clitheroe, in the heart of the North West of England, the Home n' Dry brand (previously known as FiveF Alka) is owned by family-run business and ruminant feed manufacturer, Dugdale Nutrition.
The long history of Alkasystems technology dates back over 35 years, when Roger Dugdale and Alan Sayle visited the United States in the early 1980's to see how nutritionists fed cattle with high genetic potential. There, they found Lucerne was almost universal in nutrition, providing an excellent base for the rest of the ruminant diet along with high quality maize silage. Unlike in the US, the UK forage were largely limited to acidic fermented grass silages and acidosis was extremely prevalent.
It became clear that an alkaline forage which included starch could be an extremely beneficial addition to the diets of UK cattle – providing a suitable base diet on which to support the requirements of the high genetic potential cattle.
However, the practicalities of growing lucerne and maize in the north of England were prohibitive.
Cereal crops were good to grow in the UK for forage, but historically they had been harvested early and fermented. This did not fit with moving away from acidic forages, so Alan and B. Dugdale & Son set about developing a product that could be applied to the harvested whole cereal crops to conserve with an alkaline pH.
In 1986 and after much developmental trial work, Home n' Dry® pellets were manufactured at the B. Dugdale & Son mill in Clitheroe, Lancashire. The foundations of Alkasystems technology were now in place.
The first wheat crops were harvested at almost full maturity and treated with Home n’ Dry but this had a fairly narrow harvest window because if taken to absolute full maturity, the cereal grains would be too hard for maximum digestibility and if taken too early, the desired starch yield was not achieved and green crop material could still be present.
In the early 1990's the first integral small grain processing mill, that could fit inside the forage harvester, was developed. Thanks to the processing mill, the cereal plant could be brought to full maturity to maximise the starch yield, grain digestibility and with a much wider harvest window. The name for this new, unique alkaline forage - Alkalage®. Alkaline, stable in the clamp, with increased protein and digestibility.
By the mid 1990's, the number of farms producing Alkalage® had increased steadily and in the coming years Home n’ Dry was also used to produce Alkastraw® and Alkagrain®.
During 2003, the growth of Alkasystems in the UK had sparked the interest of many Irish farmers, traders and nutritionists. Numerous parties visited the UK to observe the application of Home n’ Dry in practice. Following the visits and in collaboration with a small number of approved distributors, the use of Alkasystems in Ireland and Northern Ireland began and has increased year on year ever since.
In 2004, a Home n' Dry® production facility was being developed in Perth, Australia to satisfy demand from both Australia and New Zealand.
In 2010, after initial tests with Home n' Dry®, a new alkaline feed pellet called AlkabupHa® was developed to increase the pH of mixed diets in the trough and before being consumed. AlkabupHa could also add protein at the same time as raising the pH and provided farmers & nutritionist another tool to support the dietary requirements of ruminants.
In 2013, a more concentrated form of Alkagrain, known as Alkagrain 150, was developed to be used as a raw material in the production of manufactured blends and pelleted feeds.
Unlike conventional feeds, feeds that contained a specific level of Alkagrain 150 were alkaline and could therefore be fed at higher levels and with increased starch levels without increasing the risk of acidosis. December 2013 saw the first farms using what were to be called Alkanuts® or Alkablends®.
Since 2014 and through a network of approved distributors, Alkasystems are being used throughout not only the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand but also throughout the rest of Europe.
In February 2021, B. Dugdale & Son Limited purchased the remaining 50% share capital of Five F Alka Limited. B. Dugdale & Son Limited had played an integral part in the development, launch and manufacture of Home n’ Dry technology from the very beginning and the two-family businesses continued to work closely together over the years. The acquisition of the remaining 50% of FiveF Alka is therefore a very organic progression within the evolution of Alkasystems and allows for further development opportunities going forward.
We look forward to sharing our latest news and developments with you going forward. Please find all updates on the 'latest news' section of the website and do not hesitate to get in touch for further information.