Big re­vamp for ser­vice cen­tre

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Taihape - AL­IS­TER BROWNE

Fer­tiliser sup­plier Bal­lance has spent about $2 mil­lion up­grad­ing its Iri­rangi ser­vice cen­tre, north of Tai­hape, al­most dou­bling its ca­pac­ity, to meet grow­ing de­mand for prod­uct from farm­ers.

Un­like most of the rest of the coun­try, the rain has kept up in the area, mean­ing farm­ers are still spend­ing on the likes of fer­tiliser, said Curly Troon, the man­ager of the cen­tre.

Troon, who has worked at the cen­tre since 2004, said it ser­viced a wide area, from Na­tional Park in the north to south of Ohin­gaiti. It shifts more than 12,000 tonnes of prod­uct ev­ery year. The cen­tre has shown 35 per cent growth in busi­ness over the past five years.

Troon said when times were tough down on the farm, the ser­vice cen­tre felt the ef­fect be­cause fer­tiliser was a ma­jor ex­pense farm­ers would cut back on. But at present busi­ness was boom­ing thanks to the area’s re­li­able sup­ply of rain. The com­pany said the up­grade money had mainly been spent on build­ing an ex­ten­sion, a new dis­patch plant and bet­ter ac­cess roads to the site.

‘‘The pur­pose-built dis­patch plant more than dou­bles the site’s fer­tiliser load-out ef­fi­ciency, in­creas­ing the plant’s speed from one tonne a minute to three tonnes a minute and al­low­ing our car­ri­ers and spread­ers to get in and out the door quicker than ever,’’ a Bal­lance spokesper­son said.

‘‘The up­grade also im­proves traf­fic flow, separat­ing the in­com­ing and out­go­ing of goods, help­ing im­prov­ing safety on site and cre­at­ing a more ef­fi­cient ser­vice to those who visit. The ser­vice cen­tre also pro­vides a cen­tral hub for a num­ber of spread­ers and car­ri­ers across the re­gion, help­ing them de­liver prod­uct to our cus­tomers when and where they need it.’’

The spokesper­son said con­trac­tors in­volved in the up­grade came from as far afield as Te Kuiti, Hast­ings and Ro­torua. The cen­tre is run by two per­ma­nent staff who deal with close to 150 cus­tomers.

Troon said the cen­tre showed ‘‘how im­por­tant our cen­tral North Is­land farm­ers are to us’’. ‘‘The up­grade pro­vides much-needed in­fras­truc­ture so we can get prod­uct out the door and on to farm as ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble, all year round.’’

Go­ing dig­i­tal would be the next de­vel­op­ment at the cen­tre, Troon said.


Staff and con­trac­tors pose for the big day at com­ple­tion of the re­vamp of Bal­lance’s ser­vice cen­tre in Iri­rangi.

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