Ridley mill at Wasleys services the pig and poultry industry, and is an integral part of the food chain.
When fire swept through the plant on November 25th an incredible effort by staff and the extended industry was beheld, ensuring the welfare of their customer’s animals remained a priority.
Tim Hart, managing director and CEO of Ridley Corporation, said “our initial priority was that all employees were safe and well, and once that was confirmed our people responded with a high level of capability and diligence.”
Once the safety of staff was assured, the welfare of the animals was paramount, and this involved delivering feed to them as quickly as possible.
Immediate damage to the mill was the loss of the main storage shed, and silos surrounding this shed, which accounted for 1,150t of grain storage lost.
Electrical supply to the feed mill was extensively damaged including complete loss of the main switch boards to 50 percent of the facility, which meant the site could not manufacture feed.
What followed was a complex plan to co-ordinate orders and deliveries from multiple sites, planning and executing the re-build and sourcing of grain and raw materials.
Other Ridley feed mills located at Murray Bridge, and the Victorian site at St Arnaud, both played critical roles in providing a seamless service for their customers and put on extra shifts to ensure feed was made and delivered.
The Baiada feed mill located in New South Wales at Hanwood and the local Big River feed mill were also an important part of the immediate solution.
“The relatively seamless outcome for our stakeholders is testament of the Ridley culture, the resilience and dedication of our people and our commitment to the industry and our customers,” Mr Hart stated.
The re-build was completed in three stages, with the first stage being the repair of essential equipment and electricals.
Stage one was completed just four weeks after the fire, allowing the mill to produce feed at a limited capacity.
The second stage involved the connection of the two grain silos and activating the grain intake pit, and stage three involved the re-build of the premix shed, installation of new liquid tanks, and further grain storage.
Finishing touches were completed in November 2016.
A year on, and the site is back to full capacity.