Ralco has completed construction of a 1,200-head swine nursery and 2,400-head grow/finish research barn. The swine nursery and finishing barns are located near Balaton, Minnesota, and provide Ralco’s swine technical team with precision tools to further develop the most advanced swine nutrition.

“In today’s fast-paced world of new discoveries and technologies, it is important to validate products, concepts, and technologies to keep our customers on the cutting edge of nutrition and profitability,” said Ralco President Jon Knochenmus. “We would like to thank all our customers for the trust they’ve placed in us to handle their swine nutrition.  We believe these facilities represent an investment in not only our own business, but theirs as well.”

Both the 1,200-head nursery and 2,400-head double-wide finishing research barns provide the Ralco swine technical team with the ability to conduct in-depth research on alternative feed ingredients, alternative feed formulation and new technologies. The facilities are furnished with fully automated feed systems and individual water lines to conduct trials for water-based products. Continuing to advance swine production to the next level is essential to raising quality pork for a growing global population.

“These barns are something we have planned for a long time.  Until now, with the help of various research partners and customers, we have been able to conduct many trials and test nutritional developments and discoveries, but these new research barns will really take us to the next level as we continue to improve on existing technologies and develop new ones,” said Dr. Jim Hedges, who leads Ralco’s team of eight swine nutritionists with advanced degrees. 

“Our staff spends a lot of time in the field with our customers, which leads to new ideas and concepts to help improve production efficiency.  We are now able to test these concepts with facilities and pig sources that represent real-world circumstances, which will enable us to get these technologies into our customers’ hands even faster than before,” Hedges said.


Ralco is a third-generation family owned multinational company with distribution in more than 30 countries. A leading global provider of livestock nutrition, animal health products and crop enhancement products; Ralco supports large segments of the livestock, poultry, aquaculture and crop industries.