Pork, poul­try boom prompts Milne push

Countryman - - NEWS - Rueben Hale

Milne AgriGroup boss Gra­ham Laitt will ful­fil a long-held am­bi­tion in Novem­ber when his com­pany completes a $25 mil­lion up­grade of his Rock­ing­ham meat pack­ag­ing plant, aimed at cash­ing in on the pork and chicken boom.

It will boast about 3000sqm of re­frig­er­ated space, where hun­dreds of tonnes of chicken and pork from his net­work of Great South­ern free-range farms will ar­rive at the back and leave on the same day in fresh, ready-to­cook and ready-to-eat packs des­tined for su­per­mar­ket shelves and ex­port.

The ex­pan­sion is the lat­est sign of Aus­tralia’s and the world's grow­ing ap­petite for chicken and pork, with both types of meat now far out­strip­ping beef, mut­ton and lamb.

Ri­val Craig Mostyn Group has re­cently in­vested mil­lions in new fa­cil­i­ties and up­grades to bol­ster its Lin­ley Val­ley Pork busi­ness, fo­cus­ing on ex­pand­ing its low­cost and high-value prod­uct.

Milne, which owns and op­er­ates Mt Barker Free Range Chicken and Plan­ta­genet Pork, is ar­guably the largest free-range meat sup­plier to Coles and other su­per­mar­kets in the coun­try.

“It will be a show­case of the high­est-qual­ity food pro­duc­tion and hy­giene stan­dards to whet the ap­petite of over­seas buy­ers, as they can ob­serve the meat pro­duc­tion line roll seam­lessly through from de­liv­ery to the fin­ished pack­aged prod­uct,” Mr Laitt said.

“It will fully in­te­grate the bon­ing, packing, cook­ing and mar­ket­ing parts of the en­ter­prise at Rock­ing­ham but grow­ing and pri­mary pro­cess­ing would con­tinue in the Great South­ern.”

Mr Laitt said the Rock­ing­ham fa­cil­ity in­cluded a dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre for Perth and in­ter­state de­liv­er­ies as well as pre­par­ing ship­ments for ex­port.

He said the build­ing, which was orig­i­nally built by biotech com­pany Che­meq for re­put­edly $70-$80-odd mil­lion, was of “a very high stan­dard”.

Since be­ing taken over by Milne the build­ing has been pro­gres­sively mod­i­fied to be­come a state-of-the-art food pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity, with the high­est-stan­dard in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised qual­ity cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“If WA food com­pa­nies are to de­velop sus­tain­able mar­ket po­si­tions in the lo­cal, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional mar­kets we have to show we are as good or bet­ter than the best in­ter­na­tional stan­dards as well as a point of dif­fer­ence to com­peti­tors of­fer­ing the same or sim­i­lar prod­ucts,” Mr Laitt said.

“To do that we need to pro­duce so­phis­ti­cated prod­ucts, bet­ter than any­body else — that re­quires us to up our in­vest­ment in in­no­va­tion and ma­chin­ery for best pro­duc­tion.

“I learned from my days as the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Peter & Brownes sell­ing ice-cream to the Ja­panese that if you want to suc­ceed you have to be at the cut­ting edge of what­ever mar­ket you are try­ing to en­ter. Milne has a re­la­tion­ship with CMG which pro­cesses Milne pork at their abat­toirs but we com­pete with them in other ar­eas.

“That’s Aus­tralia — there are a lim­ited num­ber of com­pa­nies, so you are of­ten com­peti­tors in one area and work­ing to­gether in an­other.

“When tar­get­ing large ex­port mar­kets, it is of­ten worth­while for Aussie com­pa­nies to work to­gether as there are plenty of more sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors.”

Picture: Si­mon Santi Photo avail­able at west­pix.com.au

Milne AgriGroup busi­ness chief ex­ec­u­tive Gra­ham Laitt and op­er­a­tions man­ager Dar­rin Fin­layson inside the ware­house.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.