Hay facility a major boost
Published on 01 August 2014
A new specialist hay processing and export facility south of Bridgewater will inject $700,000 a year into the local economy, according to Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh.
Mr Walsh was at the site yesterday to announce a grant of $300,000 for the project, to help with such infrastructure needs as electricity, water and road access.
The money was sourced through the government’s regional investment program, Industries for Today and Tomorrow.
The Minister, who was accompanied by Nationals candidate for Ripon Scott Turner, said West Australian company Hay Australia was expanding its operations into Victoria by investing millions of dollars into the new venture.
“Once the processing facility is complete, up to 60,000 tonnes of hay will be exported each year with an estimated value of up to $20 million annually,” Mr Walsh said.
Hay Australia’s Victorian operations manager, Geoff Walker, said the company’s investment in the project would exceed $6 million over the next three years.
“When the facility is fully operational, it will operate 24 hours a day, five days a week, and employ 14 staff,” Mr Walker said.
“The hay processed here will be sent to Japan, South Korea, China and anywhere else that will take it.
“Hay Australia has taken the decision to expand into Victoria for a number of reasons – to drought-proof its supply of fodder, to capture more market share and to add to its range of products.
“Bridgewater was chosen because of its accessibility to hay producing areas across the north, south-east and west of the state.
“This location also offers good logistics for transport to port and a good availability of suitable staff.
“The production shed you see today is the first of seven sheds to be built here. It’s about 7000 square metres in size and has its unique bar code wrapped over it.”
The first shed, now nearing completion, will provide storage for 3500 tonnes of hay as well as processing equipment.
Loddon Shire Council originally bought the 39ha site to develop as an industrial estate, but later sold it to Hay Australia.
The company will buy hay from contract growers to be pulled apart, blended and compressed for specific agricultural industries.