A NEW feed mill is to be built at Cuballing in the Western Australian wheatbelt to supply 180,000 tonnes per year of pellets for sheep and cattle.
Whitford Fertilisers principals and Cuballing farmers John and Doreen Patmore and venture partner Dean Toovey, with backing from some WA investors, are behind the Patmore Feeds project.
It gained approval from WA authorities late last year, and is being built on land already owned by the Patmores and operating as the Whitford Fertilisers depot.
It has also been a sales point for pellets made by another manufacturer, and Mr Toovey said the decision to build the mill came from the partners not being able to source enough pellets to meet demand.
“We thought we’d either have to get out of pellets, or start doing them ourselves,” Mr Toovey said.
“The market’s been undersupplied for several years, and with a couple of big processors starting their own feedlots, and more farmers feeding sheep with pellets, we can see the demand.
“Sheep have made a comeback, and that doesn’t look like changing any time soon.”
Cattle pellets will also be made at the site, and Mr Toovey he expected the production split would be 50/50 sheep and cattle.
“We’ve got beef-producing areas to the north and south of us, and sheep all around us.
“People are building sheep feedlots, and people are thinking more about nutrition.”
Mr Toovey said formulation of the Patmore Feeds pellets was yet to be finalised, and that the business was initially targeting ruminants only.
Construction of the mill is due to start in coming weeks, and Mr Toovey said he was expecting Patmore Feeds to start milling straw and grain in October prior to the harvest rush later in the year.
The Whitford Fertilisers site is located between Cuballing and Narrogin, and already has an established clientele based on the fertiliser business.
Whitford Fertilisers was established by Phil Whitford, who sold the business to the Patmores and established Whitfert.