Clitheroe-based farm animal feed company Dugdale Nutrition has made a £1m. investment in both its own future and that of farming with the completion of a purpose-built feed blending unit.
The new facility, which has a capacity in excess of 50,000 tonnes of blend per year, has been built alongside the company’s existing mill and headquarters at Salthill, Clitheroe.
At 72 metres long and 48 metres wide, the new unit includes 17 bulk raw material bays, each with a 100-tonne capacity, and eight bays for finished blends.
Managing director Matthew Dugdale said: “At a time when the animal feed sector is consolidating, with three independent compounders being taken over in the past year alone, this is a significant investment from the shareholders of Dugdale Nutrition, showing their long-term commitment to supplying the ruminant sector.
“This is based on the belief that the future for dairy, beef and lamb is positive, and we believe that as a 100% independent family owned business we are perfectly positioned to adapt to the changing needs of our customers in the years to come.
“This facility will allow the business to continue its recent expansion whilst staying true to its roots of openness, high quality products and aiming to deliver exceptional customer service.”
Blending will be done through a large capacity static mixer and distributed to out loading points using a high-throughput elevator system.
All blending processes will be accurately controlled using the latest mill control technology from DSL, a company specialising in high quality control systems for the feed and grain industries.
Dugdales’ new blend plant is believed to be the only purpose-built blending facility in Northern England, all known existing ones being adapted from other uses. It has been designed to allow articulated wagons freedom to weigh, tip and manoeuvre with no height restriction, reducing unloading times to a minimum.
Dugdales’ commercial manager Andy Galling commented: “There is a large and increasing demand from farmers for both proprietary and bespoke blends, which the new unit will help meet.
“It is very much a state-of-the-art facility, able to produce and handle blends, including the addition of a wide range of nutrition enhancing micro-nutrients, with great accuracy.
“Our mill currently produces compound feeds plus ground meals. The new blend shed will produce bespoke unground blends. While the majority of sales will be in bulk, the shed will also offer smaller amounts in one tonne tote bags and the option for farmers to collect blends if they wish.”
Andy added: “Simply, it means that we can become the one-stop-shop for farmers’ ruminant feed needs. Additionally all customers will benefit from the same high quality delivery service and administration we already provide our compound users.
“It will also increase the capacity for further compound feed tonnage, since a proportion of meal production will transfer out of the mill into the new blend shed freeing up mill capacity.
“The provision of a weigh bridge within the blend shed will also help traffic flow in and out of the premises.
“It is expected that the blending shed will come into production by April this year and we are planning an open day and official opening in July.”
l Dugdale Nutrition is a long-established family run business with the present managing director, Matt Dugdale, being the sixth member of his family to hold the post in its 163-year history.
The business started as a small scale feed merchant alongside a village grocery business, starting compound feed production in 1957 and moving to its present base in 1979.
Mill capacity has steadily grown and output in 2012/2013 hit a record 140,000 tonnes.