Big revamp for service centre
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.