Ridley's new Vic feed mill kicks off, but now another will shut

Ridley's $47m feed mill replaces two old plants, with capacity to spare

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Ridley's Bendigo feed mill, to be demolished.

Ridley's Bendigo feed mill, to be demolished.

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Ridley Corporation to close and sell stockfeed mill sites near Shepparton and in Bendigo after commissioning a new mill at Wellsford near Bendigo.

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Stockfeed producer Ridley Corporation has confirmed the planned closure and sale of two Victorian sites after commissioning its new $47 million poultry and pig feed mill at Wellsford near Bendigo in Victoria during June.

The company has built the new 350,000-tonne capacity Wellsford plant on time and on budget, transferring all production from its nearby Bendigo mill which is to be demolished and the site sold off in the 2020-21 financial year.

The operations at Ridley's Mooroopna feed mill near Shepparton in northern Victoria's Goulburn Valley will also be shifted south to the new state of the art Wellsford plant.

That site is also to be sold off after production is transferred during the next six months.

Our focus for the year ahead will be to improve utilisation across our asset portfolio - Quentin Hildebrand, Ridley Corporation

Ridley managing director Quinton Hildebrand, who flagged the likely shutdown of some surplus sites last November, said Wellsford would still have about 70,000t of extra capacity after absorbing the Bendigo and Goulburn Valley businesses.

"Having invested just over $47m in the new Wellsford facility it is important that we take full commercial advantage of it's superior efficiency and production quality," he said.

"Our focus for the year ahead will be to improve utilisation across our asset portfolio.

"Unfortunately that means the closure of Mooroopna.

"We will be working closely with our customers in coming months to ensure they benefit from a seamless transition to the Wellsford supply arrangements."

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Nine months ago Ridley Corporation also closed one of its two South Australian stockfeed mills, at Murray Bridge, saying it was costing the business $1.5 million annually.

The Murray Bridge plant had earlier in the year lost business to Ingham's new feed mill at nearby Brinkley.

About $6m in total remediation expenses were expected to be associated with closing and preparing the two old Victorian plants for divestment, although most of those costs would be asset impairments and write-downs, not cash costs.

During the past eight years Ridley has also opened new feed mill sites at Pakenham and Lara in Victoria and Westbury in Tasmania.

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