Oat mill rolls into niche markets
WA oat processor Avena Mills plans to carve out niche domestic and international markets for organic and “contamination-free” oats, by taking its value-adding a step further to provide a shelf-ready product.
In the process, the small Wandering-based company could deliver an extra $2 million a year to the WA grains sector, potentially expand its number of suppliers, and offer growers a premium of $20 to $120 a tonne, while creating up to five regional jobs when fully operational in 2020.
Avena Mills is jointly owned by feed-milling group Thompson and Redwood, and the Rintoul and Battley families who both farm near Wandering/Williams. Avena processes oats by cleaning, grading-to-size and removing husks to supply a kernel for stock feed.
Avena Mills company secretary Stephen Lamond said for the human-consumption market, it undertook further refinement to KDHO (de-hulled, kiln-dried hulled oats), which was sold on to processors ready for rolling before hitting the retail shelf.
But Avena will now take its value-adding a step further by building its own rolling and drying line to create a shelf-ready rolled or instant-type oat product.
The ability to value-add further to create a retail product was made possible after the company was awarded an $178,500 grant.
The grant will go towards adding a rolling/flaking and packaging line to Avena’s existing facilities.
“Using the ECG, we can add our own rolling and drying line to create a retail shelf-ready rolled or instant-type oat product,” Mr Lamond said.
“This can be branded and sold domestically and in key potential export markets.”
Mr Lamond said Avena would be the first WA company to offer the contaminant-free finished product. He said because Wandering was based in heart of the WA “sheep belt”, Avena was ideally situated to source oats from properties that produced no other cereals for processing in its oat-specific mill.
“We can market these oats as being free of any gluten contaminants,” Mr Lamond said.
Mr Lamond said the group would produce about 100 tonnes of the finished shelf-ready product in its first year, but that would grow with time.
Avena Mills director and Williams farmer Kim Rintoul at the plant which produces premium oats.