Warwick's Riverina plant drives to meet demand

FEED TEAM: Staff from Riverina's Warwick plant, territory manager Glen Whitton, Chris Dearden, Katrina O'Leary and Beryl Browne.
FEED TEAM: Staff from Riverina's Warwick plant, territory manager Glen Whitton, Chris Dearden, Katrina O'Leary and Beryl Browne. Jonno Colfs

A WARWICK business has been doing some hard yakka over past months, with producers turning to them in needs as dry conditions sweep across much of the country.

Riverina has upped productions at its Warwick plant, since a spike in drought conditions hit the rural industry last year.

The Warwick site is a major supplier of animal feed, sending both dry and liquid feed to all parts of the country.

Territory manager Glen Whitton said a drier season meant a heavier reliance on feed and on the business.

"When pasture is down, customers turn to us,” he said.”

Drier environments create a greater need for protein and energy that's available in our feed products.

"Our custom formulas are forever changing with the seasons and now what we're seeing is the bulk of the country west of the divide struggling with dry and, in some cases, severe drought conditions.

"We already run close to a 24-hour operation here but, when we see conditions like we've seen for the last few months, we're 24 hours, seven days.”

SUPPLY AND DEMAND: Glen Whitton, territory manager for Riverina at the Warwick plant.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND: Glen Whitton, territory manager for Riverina at the Warwick plant. Jonno Colfs

Mr Whitton said many properties and producers were simply running out of water.

"Pasture is lacking and these customers love their animals, they want to look after them and care for their herd,” he said.

"So when it's dry like it has been, we see a marked increase in production.

"Luckily we have the capacity to be able to handle that without concern.

"There's so much intensive feeding now which, of course, equals a constant demand for feed.”

Mr Whitton said the business was an ever-evolving one.

"People are becoming more and more conscious of where their food is coming from,” he said.

"And in that regard, we need to be spot on as we're making the food for their food.”

This importance on quality and ensuring customers have premium feeds for their animals means science plays a huge part in Riverina's feed production values.

"We have a team of 25 nutritional consultants and three that we deal with on a very regular basis,” Mr Whitton said.

"They determine the right formulas of proteins and vitamins to ensure a top quality feed, which in turn produces a better yield for producers.

"We need to abide by all the current rules and regulations and have the right Feedsafe quality assurance accreditations in place.

"We're also audited regularly, for feed standards as well as safety standards within the facility.”

Mr Whitton said the Warwick staff worked hard at keeping the plant clean and free of contamination.

"Every day we're cleaning and making sure the place is up to scratch,” Mr Whitton said.

"There's too much at stake and our products need to be as perfect as possible for our customers, that's the bottom line.”

Mr Whitton said farming habits and methods had also changed over the years.

"Producers used to supplement feed in the winter months,” he said.

"But more and more often these days, supplements are used year-round. Keeping these animals healthy, well looked after and well-fed leads to growth and performance and the bottom line, dollars.”

The Warwick Riverina site is unique in that it produces and provides customers with both wet and dry feed options.

The plant also supplies boutique feeds for the equine industry.

The main customers, however, are feedlots and piggeries, with upwards of 100 trucks a days coming to unload supplies or take finished products to customers.

"We have so many different rations,” Mr Whitton said.

"Each customer has their own preferred recipe, based on information from their own consultants, pertaining to their environment, their breed and expectations.”

The Riverina plant in Warwick, employs more than 40 staff. As a company, their work supplying rural Australia with feed products spans more than 90 years.

Topics:  agricultural business hard yakka southern downs warwick warwick business

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