RIDLEY Limited is about to rationalise its stockfeed milling operations in central and northern Victoria now that its new mill at Wellsford near Bendigo has been commissioned.
As scheduled to commence in the fourth quarter of the financial year, the Wellsford mill is producing poultry and pig feed.
All production has been successfully transitioned from the former Bendigo feedmill to Wellsford, resulting in the cessation of operations at, and closure of, the old site. The site will be secured from a safety perspective and the remediation, demolition and redevelopment approval activities commenced and fully accounted for in the 2020 financial year, to prepare the site for divestment.
The Wellsford mill has an annual capacity of 350,000 tonnes, and will absorb production capacity of the old Bendigo feedmill, and the Mooroopna feedmill.
Mooroopna production and customers will be transitioned to the new Wellsford site during the next six to nine months, after which the Mooroopna site will be prepared for divestment.
After consolidating volume from the Bendigo and Mooroopna feedmills, Wellsford will have an additional 70,000t of feed-production capacity.
Preliminary estimates of $6 million for the aggregate costs of closure, site security and remediation of the Bendigo and Mooroopna sites will be finalised next month.
“Having invested just over $47M in the new Wellsford facility, it is important that we take full commercial advantage of its superior efficiency and product quality,” Ridley chief executive officer and managing director Quinton Hildebrand said.
“Unfortunately that means the closure of our Mooroopna feedmill, and we will be working closely with our customers over the coming months to ensure they benefit from a seamless transition to the Wellsford supply arrangements.
“The commissioning of the Wellsford feedmill and rationalisation of our operations in this region concludes our committed portfolio modernisation program.
“Our focus for the year ahead will be to improve utilisation across our asset portfolio and to generate the increase in earnings and cash flows from the investments in the four plants at Pakenham, Lara, Westbury and Wellsford that we have constructed in the last eight years.”