For years, I have noticed companies in the West that receive tank cars of liquid feed for cattle. It is an important source of rail traffic and pretty easy to model.
I decided to do a little research on the topic. Roswell did not feature a liquid feed dealer in the early 1990s, but it would have been pretty easy for a dealer to set up off a team track. I am not sure if I will feature any liquid feed operations on my layout, but it is an option for other modellers. They are easy to model. In part one of this series, I am going to highlight three actual operations in Texas with a particular focus on my favorite in Marfa, Texas. In parts II and III, I will feature operations on a friends layout.
Just as background, molasses-based supplements have been fed to cattle for decades. In the early years these supplements consisted of molasses alone, but the formulation of molasses supplements progressed and now includes the addition of crude protein, minerals, vitamins, feed additives. A molasses-based mixture can be a high crude protein supplement added to concentrate feeds, a medium to high crude protein supplement fortified with minerals and vitamins fed in a lick-wheel tank or an energy supplement fed in open troughs to cattle grazing pasture or native range. It can be a simple mixture of molasses and urea, or a complex mixture containing molasses, other liquids, natural protein, non-protein nitrogen, phosphorus, several trace elements, vitamins or other feed additives.
That is probably more than you wanted to know, but let’s get to looking at some rail operations that handle this commodity.
There is a large operation in Gainesville, Texas, the aptly named, “Cattle-lac Liquids.” It frequently receives numerous loads (three or more cars) off the BNSF.
Another large operation that I am aware of is Hudson Livestock Supplements in Miles, Texas. Depending on the season, Hudson is a pretty good customer for the Texas Pacifico Railroad. The Texas Pacifico operates the old South Orient line See post from March 1, 2014, entitled, “The last one was cold and rainy…”
I saved my favorite for last–Fowlkes Cattle Company in Marfa, Texas.
It is a small operation on the east side of Marfa, Texas. It is located adjacent to Union Pacific’s mainline to El Paso, Texas. It normally receives a few shipments each year and normally just one car. Occasionally, two cars will be spotted there.
This would be an easy operation to model. A few tanks and a pump and your in business. This is not a space eater for a layout.
Here is an aerial of this operation.
Part II of this post will feature an HO scale liquid feed dealer including a discussion of its operations.