GRAHAM Laitt’s expansion plans for his agribusiness company, Milne AgriGroup, appear to be in full swing.
Among the developments is a significant beefing up of its Milne Feeds business, which will double its production capacity in an effort to rival WA livestock feed player Wesfeeds.
Milne AgriGroup has invested $4 million to redevelop its Milne Feeds business and has spent between $300,000 and $400,000 to upgrade its Mt Barker Free Range Chicken business.
The investments enable Milne AgriGroup to double its production capacity of feeds and free-range chicken.
According to Milne AgriGroup general manager marketing Boaz Kogon, the $4 million redevelopment of Milne Feeds’ Welshpool mill and storage facility will create a more sophisticated operation.
“We have imported the latest equipment and technology from the US,” Mr Kogon said.
“Installation in a mill that operates around the clock has been challenging, but the work is nearing completion and will result in greater flexibility and more sophisticated production capability.
“As the mill upgrade work is completed work will start on building new storage facilities to hold ingredients and finished products, which will further improve service levels.”
Growth in the livestock feeds market is a result of changing trends in the farming industry, with increasing numbers of farmers realising the cost benefits of using more feed for their stock.
However, Wesfeeds general manager Ian Spencer said the trend had been growing over some time and there had been no sudden explosion for demand.
“It’s not like the mining industry where there are booms,” he said.
“The general trend has been to feed more livestock and the livestock feed market is expanding, but it’s been gradual.”
Milne AgriGroup was formed in October last year after Mr Laitt acquired Milne Feeds and folded it into his existing pastoral company, Liveringa Pastoral Co.
The company bought Jaloran and Cheviot Hill farms in Wagin earlier this year.
Mr Kogon said an agronomy department was established to undertake field trials on the farms’ grain varieties.
“We have established an agronomy department, which this year has conducted field trials of more than 22 new feed grain varieties on group farms Jaloran and Cheviot Hills,” he said.
“A research program is under way to develop higher yielding lower input grains that will assist in reducing the volatility of grain prices year on year.”
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