By Sharon Webb
A $50M factory manufacturing food for Tasmania’s salmon farming industry has opened officially at Westbury’s industrial zone, Valley Central.
Australian manufacturer of farm animal and pet food, Ridley currently supplies Petuna and Tassal with salmon food, as well as NZ customers.
Ridley’s CEO, David Lord, said the plant currently employs 20 locals: commissioning had been smooth although managers are still fine-tuning.
‘With this world-class technology we are able to produce 50 000 tonnes a year on a five day shift structure,’ he said. ‘Our intention is to have the capacity to go to round the clock, seven day shifts if warranted.’ Westbury factory supporting salmon industry
‘We have relationships with all major salmon producers and now we have made this commitment to be their local Tasmanian supplier, we are looking forward to their support.’
Launching the plant, Premier Will Hodgman said it is expected to inject about $21 million a year into the local economy.
‘Ridley’s new facility is also strategically important for our salmon industry, increasing the supply of locally sourced, high quality feed product to meet projected industry growth,’ he said.
‘The aquaculture sector is a significant contributor to the Tasmanian economy and to support growth and protect our position, the industry must remain competitive in all aspects of the supply chain.’
Ridley uses extrusion technology to produce salmon food and can also produce dry pet food, Mr Lord said.
The ingredients are high quality and locally sourced as much as possible.
Plant construction involved 350 project managers, contractors and sub-contractors across 40 companies, of which 90 percent were Tasmanian.
In approving the plant, Tasmania’s EPA acknowledged the problem of odour emissions 15 times the allowable levels at the plant boundaries, indicated by Ridley’s own testing.
It stipulated Ridley must submit quarterly air testing results in its first operating year and twice a year after that, keep a complaints register and notify the authority of complaints within 24 hours