THE Kialla Group, which incorporates Kialla Pure Foods and Aus Organic Feeds, has celebrated its 30-year anniversary with the opening of a $7 million expansion to its grain milling facilities on Queensland’s Darling Downs.
The project included the construction of a $5.5 million, state-of-the-art feed mill and a $1.5 million expansion of the group’s warehouse site near Greenmount.
The feed mill is a purpose-built pellet and mash mill rated at 10 tonnes/hour featuring fully-automated, state-of-the-art equipment – an American roll stand, Italian pellet press and the balance of the equipment from Denmark.
The warehouse expansion provides facilities for storing finished goods and has a retail packing room, staff amenities, QA room and laboratory.
Kialla managing director, Quentin Kennedy, said the new mill replaced an old mill that had reached the end of its capacity.
“This was about getting increased capability, but just as importantly increased quality capability,” he said.
“The system we have put in can do a wide range of feeds, whether that is broiler feeds, layer feeds, through to cattle feeds. It is a very flexible, versatile mill and is very efficient – bulk inloads, fully computer-controlled automated system, and bulk outloads.”
With the business’s primary focus on organics, Mr Kennedy said the expansion program had been undertaken at a time when the organic industry was going through a quiet period.
“The organic market is a bit slow at the moment, mainly as a result of strong grain pricing that has subdued the market. I have no doubt it will recover,” he said.
“You do these upgrades when things are quiet. It can be a bit disconcerting, but you do them when it is quiet so you can get them done without it affecting your customers. Then you are ready to take advantage of growth when it comes.
“We will also be doing conventional feed in the new mill. Because of the capacity we have we need to get plant utilisation. It gives us the flexibility in run sizes and client requirements that the big mills don’t really have.”
Mr Kennedy said an important element of the business’s organic foods chain had been the introduction four years ago of ‘plate2farm’ tracking where consumers could enter the batch number of a food product and trace its origin back to the farms where the grain was grown.
“The reason we did that is the organic consumer wants to know the story of their food. Under organic certification we have to track batch numbers anyway, so it was a relatively simple add-on. We were already collecting all that data so took it one step further,” he said.
“The consumer uptake on that has been reasonably good, but I think as much as anything they just draw confidence from the fact it’s there and we are transparent.”
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