Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) test with our Universal Mill

Today we tested ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) , for a baking ingredients supplier through our Universal Mill using the pin attachment with great result.


The ascorbic acid was milled through the stainless steel pin mill, running at 4,000RPM, and the result after milling was 87% through a 212micron screen in a single pass at a capacity of nearly 400kg/hr. Higher results can be obtained by running the product through the mill again, or by reducing the capacity slightly.


Just another add on to a long list of applications for the versatile Universal Mill.

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) Pre-Milled


Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) After Milling

Feedback on a Silo Project

The following is feedback on a silo project ABC Hansen Grain did adjustments on.

“ The changes have worked out very well. We are running maize transfer at 13t/hr nonstop. Chain conveyors are the best for this job. I only have to grease my bearings. My millers are happy the boss is happy and everything is just great. We are only stopping production for maintenance work. Thanks again.”

Hippo Mills 3 phase diesel generator

Hippo mills have developed a new 3 phase diesel generator. This generator can drive 3 phase electric motors up to about 9 kW. This generator has one 3-phase plug and 3 single-phase plugs. The diesel engine on the generator is water cooled.


The HDD detroyer: Hippo Mills new test results

We here at Hippo Mills do all kinds of tests on our mills. This week we milled a computer hard drive of a client. The Hippo Hammer mill destroyed the hard disk drive in a matter of seconds. The hippo mill can be used as an HDD destroyer. See below the photos we took of the output.


A hard disk destroyed

The remains of a hard disk after it went through a hippo mill

The remains of a computer hard disk drive that was milled to destruction with a hippo hammer mill.


More information on the Hippo Hammer mill range

ABC Hansen at the Gulf food show in Dubai

Hippo Mills donates to Endangered Wildlife trust

ABC Hansen Africa donates money to the Endangered Wildlife Trust for every Hippo Hammer Mill sold. From the beginning of this year until now we have manufactured and sold over 60 Hippo Hammer Mills. A percentage of each of those mills went to the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

Hammer Mill manufacturing line at the factory in Pretoria

Hippo Hammer Mill Kickstarter


Features and Benefits of the ABC Hansen “Kick-Starter”:

Electric motors can draw up to 4 times the rated amps of the motor on start-up. This means that a 55kW motor can require up to 440 amps on start-up. It also means that the peak electricity demand would be set at this amperage, resulting in large peak demand charges, often more than a whole month’s consumption.

This is the case even with VFD’s and soft starts and while the amperage may be only somewhat lower, the cost of soft starters for large motors is also high. The other alternative is to install a capacitor bank which again is very expensive and only partly successful if not at full large motor capacity. The other problem is that capacitors would take up the load of the all motors in the factory, therefore when the large motor is started while the other motors is running, it may very quickly run out of capacity.

It is also useful where a factory power supply is limited and the main breaker goes into overcapacity and trips whenever the large motor is started.


ABC Hansen manufactures a “Kick Starter” to get the large motor, not under load, in motion, reducing the time it requires high amperage and also limiting the start-up amperage demand.


The system may be supplied at a low cost with a manual application or at slightly higher cost with fully automated application.

Where a more sophisticated system is required, it would involve the “kick-starter” with soft start or VFD where the large motor is simply started as before.

Push the Kick Start mechanism firmly towards the main drive motor. While the mechanism is moving forward the Kick Start motor will energise(rotate).

Make sure to firmly engage the drive mechanism and apply great force so that the wheels do not slip.

After 10 seconds the soft starter will energize and the main drive motor will start rotating. At this moment the Kick Start will stop rotating, now you must return the Mechanism to its park position.

If you need to stop the Kick Start unit, return the mechanism to the park (neutral)l position before the 10 seconds has expired.

Once the Soft starter has energized the Green run light will illuminate and when the Hippo is up to speed and ready for use, the Amber Light will be on.

To stop the operation in any of the above sequence, turn the On/Off switch to the Off (Stop) position.

ABC Hansen News 08 June 2018


A preview of the 10,000 ton project at Cookhouse.

The fourth silo roof is being constructed with silo 1 and 2 up and silo 3 halfway.




ABC Hansen supplied the four +- 26 meter bucket elevators for the Senmin project for AECI in Sasolburg and is being installed in the …. Plant.

Stringent quality control all the way.




Rather than sub-contracting sand blasting, ABC Hansen found it more efficient to sandblast its equipment prior to painting in-house.

A shipping container was lined and converted to allow for sandblasting. A sand recovery and sifting system ensures quality sand with the correct particle size is being used.




90 years after Arthur Collins showed his first Hippo Mill at the Royal Show at Pietermartizburg, Hippo Mills, keeping up the tradition as an annual exhibitor at the show, highlighted the humble origins of Hippo Mills during a dinner where the grand- and great-great grandchildren of Arthur remembered their far-sighted grandfather.

In 1892 Arthur Collins, a young English inventor-engineer set foot in South Africa and after having developed many products still in use in the mining industry, and with the later the collaboration of his son Frank, in 1928 exhibited the first South African made hammer mill at the Royal Show in Pietermartizburg.

Needing a brand, the inventors turned to the news story of the year, being the travels of Hubert (later established to have been Huberta) the hippo along the east African coast from St Lucia in Zululand to deep into the Eastern Cape. Her death at the hands of farmers had the country in mourning. So the mill was called Hippo in commemoration of this spirited animal.

Today ABC Hansen is still manufacturing Hippo hammer mills, as well as a range of other agricultural equipment, along the same technology this gifted engineer envisaged. Cast iron, bolt together construction allowing any part to be replaced when worn and allowing movement between parts to avoid stress cracking in the structure due to vibration.

Moving with new market demands, today’s Hippo mill has overcome the dust problems inherent with hammer mills, a mechanical in-feed mechanism allowing for optimal performance, more efficient cyclones, easy dismountable delivery tubes, enhanced fan performance etc. However in essence, a Hippo mill remains a Hippo mill and is still considered a mill for a lifetime.

Today the range of mills from 4kW to 90kW has not only traditional farm & village applications but industrial applications for large industry and feed mills are more prevalent than ever. And Hippo mills are not only sold throughout Africa but also the USA, Germany, Denmark, Australia, Nieu Zeeland, Papua New Guinee, the Carribbean Islands and many other destinations.

At a function at the Royal Show on May 26 – 90 years after its first appearance there – the 3 granddaughters, one great and another great-great granddaughter of Arthur Collins presented on behalf of ABC Hansen, a free Hippo mill to Mr. Christopher Chilenje  of Malawi – a Hippo owner donating this mill to a community near Mzimba some 400km north of the capital Lilongwe, who showed greatest need of a village mill from all the contestants who entered into the Hippo competition. ABC Hansen shall be there when this mill is presented to the community, allowing processing of more than 200kg per hour of maize meal.

Hippo Mills will be there to present this award to the community and will keep you posted here about this event.



The biggest agricultural exhibition in Africa and beyond was another great event for ABC Hansen.

A total of more than 1,500 persons visited the ABC Hansen Grain, Scanwood and My Silo stands over the 4 days of the show, with over 400 official enquiries taken.



Huberta the wandering Hippo has been at it again. This year only she visited the USA, Germany, Holland, Australia, Nieu Zeeland, Papua New Guinee and the Carribbean apart from local African travels to destinations such as beautiful Kenya, the Pearl of Africa – Uganda, the Warm Heart of Africa – Malawi, the giant of Africa – DRC, mineral rich Angola, the green island of Mauritius and the eighth continent – Madagscar, apart from our Southern African countries.

Hippo and Universal mill exports to Pleasant Hills Grain of Nebraska is picking up speed with another container of 28 Hippo Baby as well as Hippo 47’s, 57’s and 69’s on its way.

Go to the ABC Hansen shop and get your discounted copy of “Huberta’s Journey” – a wonderful book for old and young, showing the joyful and finally disastrous interaction between humans and our wild animal brethren.


A Hippo Saved my Life

Struggling and suffering in Zimbabwe with food shortages and a family to provide for, I was at the end of my rope when my husband, who works in South Africa, brought back a Hippo hammer mill with diesel engine over Easter weekend…..

Hippos kill many people in Africa but this Hippo saved my life and will continue to provide for my family long after I am gone. And we even make some money by milling maize for the neighbours.

In this uncertain world, I can always be sure of my Hippo hammer mill.

Advantages of organic mulches in the orchard


E. Joubert (Subtrop)

Manure, compost, woodchips, slashed material and pruned branches are commonly used as organic mulches in the orchard1. There are many agricultural advantages to correctly applied organic mulches in the soil2,3. These advantages include the presence of natural micro-organisms that enhances plant growth, plant health and product quality1,4,5. Micro-organisms generally include bacteria, fungi, viruses and algae6.

Actinomycetes are a remarkable group of bacteria that provide us with antibiotics we use in medicine today (Streptomyces). Some bacteria work symbiotically with non-legumes as nitrogen fixing bacteria (Frankia) and others such as Clostridium, Azotobacter or Bacillus are free-living nitrogen fixers. Nitrification is the aerobic process in which bacteria (Nitrosomonas & Nitrobacter) transform Nitrogen in the form of applied ammonia to nitrite followed by the oxidation of the nitrite to nitrate which is available for plant uptake. Nitrogen fixing bacteria also bind the nitrogen that is available in the atmosphere into a form that the plant can use. The oxidation process of sulphur that is important for crop production are also driven by bacteria6,7.

Bacteria act as decomposers of plant material (cellulose and lignin) and insect exoskeletons. The ‘eathy’ smell of turned healthy fresh soil is a sign of decomposing bacteria at work. Decomposing bacteria feed on organic mulches and make nutrients available for uptake into the plant. Table 1 lists the factors and practices that may add to the organic mulch content in soil or lead to organic mulch degradation.

Table 1 Factors and practices that influence organic matter contents in the soil8.

Positive factors and practices Negative factors and practices
Conservation farming practices Conventional farming practices
Pruned material remain in the orchard Remove pruned branches from orchard
Cover crops Erosion of top soil
Low soil temperatures and shade High soil temperatures and exposure to direct sun
High soil moisture content Dry soil
Surface cover Burnt vegetation
Compost and manure application Inorganic fertilizers
Adequate nitrogen Too much nitrogen
High plant productivity Low plant productivity
High root : above ground plant material ratio Low root : above ground plant material ratio


The addition of manure and compost to soil will raise the soil carbon content and result in unlocking valuable plant nutrients through decomposition. Mulches should ideally have a carbon: nitrogen ration between 25 – 100: 1. BEWARE the problems that can develop due to the injudicious application of compost and manure containing high phosphate (P) levels. Some guidelines when selecting compost and manure include the following:

  • Analyse the compost and manures to determine the nutrient levels.
  • Do not exceed the recommended nutrient application rates.
  • Determine if the fruit buyer or market will allow manure applications.
  • Avoid manure applications where soil P levels are high (> 75ppm, Bray 1 method).
  • Prevent manure and compost losses to surface and ground water.
  • Use composted manure that will contribute to the organic matter content of the soil.


One of the most important roles bacteria play in our soils are decomposition3,7. Carbon is an important food source for micro-organisms. In the soil, the organic matter content is 1.72 times the organic carbon content9. Carbon dioxide readily available in the atmosphere and biosphere are the biggest source of carbon in the soil. Other important sources of carbon can be grouped into live material, dead material and composed material9. Live material such as earthworms, plant roots and micro-organisms forms between 2 – 15% of the organic carbon source in the soil. A few recent articles listed the benefits of cover crops as live mulches. Some of the benefits include improved soil fertility, improved soil structure, better water management, reduced soil erosion, trap-crops for controlling pests and diseases and reduced weed pressure10 which in turn reduce the use of herbicides11 and promote of earthworms in the soil12.

Bacteria also plays an important role in the break-down of herbicides in the soil so that the concentrations does not reach poisonous soil levels. Bacteria populations excrete substances that aggregate small quantities of soil. This improves the soil structure which in turn increases the infiltration rate of water into the soil and aeration in the soil. Soil aeration forms a critical part of root and plant health.

Fungi that live in a mutualistic relationship with plants (e.g. Mycorrhiza and Trichoderma) are naturally occurring micro-organisms that can suppress plant pathogens such as Phytophthora and Botritis. These mutualistic fungi live inside roots or form a sheath on the root surface. They compete for space and nutrients with pathogens in and around the plant roots. Mycorrhizas also extend into areas which are often not within reach of plant roots, and thereby increase the total surface area that roots utilise as nutrient resources and water uptake. In turn, the plant provides the fungus with carbohydrates. Phytophthora species are oomycetes, and not fungi. Beneficial micro-organisms can also produce enzymes (cellulases and glucanases) that digest celluloses and glucan molecules in Phytophthora cell walls2. Indeed, mulching is used to control Phytophthora cinnamomi root rot in avocado and is beneficial for the development and reproduction of microbial organisms that are antagonistic to Phytophthora cinnamomi13.

The application of organic mulches has also been proven to increase earthworm populations14. The role of earthworms in the soil are:

  • Earthworms consume and digest organic litter, and excrete it in the form of nutrient-rich humus.
  • Take soil particles and organic material deeper into the soil where decomposed nutrients are made available to the deeper roots of plants.
  • Improve soil structure, aeration and drainage, which in turn can reduce soil compaction and crusting.


Another advantage of mulching is a reduced tree stress. A mulch layer serve as a temperature buffer since it reduces soil exposure to direct sunlight and consequently overheating of plant roots. In winter, mulches can result in warmer soil temperatures that allows for longer daily growth periods and earlier spring flushes2. Mulches significantly reduce evaporative water loss from the soil surface, improves soil permeability, biodiversity and significantly reduce soil compaction1,9,13. It is important to note that irrigation practices should be amended where mulches are applied in order to prevent waterlogged conditions that will promote anaerobic bacterial growth which has negative effects on plant health and pathogen related problems such as Phytophthora infection and root death due to hypoxic (no oxygen) conditions2. In a recent presentation at the South African Avocado Growers Organizations’ Research Symposium, Schoeman & Nortjé provided proof for the alleviating effect of 2L/m2 compost (costing R 3 600/ha) or 2g/m2 polyacrylamide (costing R 312/ha) on soil crusting. Soil crusting results in oxygen negative conditions15 and Phytophthora infection is a result of soil compaction16, while aeration increases nutrient availability and uptake and reduced nitrogen losses17.

Sustainable farming orientated table grape growers in the Western Cape saved 15 – 20% water and their nitrogen application costs reduced with 40% due to the increased soil carbon levels following mulches. In addition, their herbicide usage reduced with 65% even though the labour costs increased12. In summary, organic mulches plays an important role in biological, physical and chemical soil characterization. Mulches promotes an environment that beneficially affects plant health and product quality. Cultivated crops that originate form areas where the decomposed organic mulch layers occur naturally beneath the plants, will benefit from well aerated soils that contain high levels of organic mulch.



  1. Sheard, A. 2009. Mulching of Litchis. July SALGA Newsletter.
  2. Christie, B. 2012. Mulches: Good or bad? Nutshell 2012; Avoinfo 183, 2013; SALGA newsletter March 2013.
  3. van Wyk, D. 2015. Bestuur organiese materiaal vir volhoubare landbou. Arena 47: 54-56.
  4. Vidal, M.T., Azcón-Aguilar, C. & Barea, J.M. 1992. Mycorrhizal Inoculation Enhances Growth and Development of Micropropagated Plants of Avocado. Hortscience 27: 785-787.
  5. Singh, H.P. & Babita, S. 2002. Lychee Production in India. In: Papademetriou, M. K. & Dent, F. J. (eds). Lychee Production in the Asia-Pacific Region. FAO/RAP Publication: 2001/09.
  6. Alexander, M. 1961. Introduction to Soil Microbiology. John Wiley & Sons. New York.
  7. van der Merwe, R. 2015. Goggas en ander goeters in die grond is voordelig vir gewasse. Arena 47: 52-53.
  8. Brady, N. C. & Weil, R. R. 2008. The nature and properties of soil. 14th Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall. New Jersey.
  9. Nel, A. 2015. Trek droogte se angel met bewaringslandbou. Landbouweekblad 1927: 46-48.
  10. Campbell, T. 2014. Cover crops – a sustainable management tool. South African Subtropical Growers Organization Journal 6: 50-53.
  11. Raats, J. 2015. Wenner woeker met grondorganismes. Landbouweekblad 1927: 50-53.
  12. Botha, L. 2016. Só versag grondbestuur tafeldruifboer se risiko’s. Landbouweekblad 1943: 44-47.
  13. Tuney, J. & Menge, J. 1994. Root health: mulching to control root disease in avocado and citrus. California Avocado Society. Circular No. CAS-94/2.
  14. Tian, G. & Kang, B.T. 1997. Effect of Mulch Quality on Earthworm Activity and Nutrient Supply in the Humid Tropics. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 29: 369-373.
  15. Mills, A. & Fey, M. 2004. Frequent fires intensify soil crusting: physicochemical feedback in the pedoderm of long-term burn experiments in South Africa. Geoderma 121: 45-64.
  16. Joubert, D. & Labuschagne, N. 1998. Effect of soil compaction on Phytophthora nicotianae root rot in Rough lemon and Troyer citrange citrus seedlings. African Plant Protection 4: 123-128.
  17. Schoeman, S. & Nortjé, G. 2016. Avocado soil surface crusting & PAM. South African Avocado Growers Organization’s Research Symposium.