Ridley's largest feedmill planned for near-vacant Wellsford Industrial Estate in Bendigo

An early design of the feedmill, planned for the Wellsford Industrial Estate.
An early design of the feedmill, planned for the Wellsford Industrial Estate.

BENDIGO will be the location of the largest Ridley Agriproducts feedmill in Australia.

The company announced on Wednesday it would build the feedmill – the second in Bendigo – in the Wellsford Industrial Estate near the Bendigo Airport.

It will manufacture feed for poultry and pig customers and other livestock animal production industries in central and northern Victoria. Ridley already has 18 feedmills across the eastern states.

The company could not put a figure on the number of jobs created, but stated it would provide “significant employment opportunities”.

Ridley managing director Tim Hart said Bendigo was ideally located to service the region’s agricultural industries.

“The Wellsford area is ideal due to its proximity to raw material suppliers, poultry and pig customers and the site’s existing connections to critical services,” he said.

The existing Ridley feedmill at the Barastoc site on Charleston Road, East Bendigo.

The existing Ridley feedmill at the Barastoc site on Charleston Road, East Bendigo.

“The decision of Ridley to support and expand in central Victoria reinforces the importance of the animal production industry to Victoria.

“The feedmill will provide significant local employment opportunities, not only during the period of construction but also for the mill operations and local supply chain, including raw material supply from local primary producers.”

Ridley will be just the second business to move into the Wellsford Industrial Estate since it was first rezoned to industrial in 2003.

The City of Greater Bendigo agreed to remove height restrictions on buildings in the estate in March, paving the way for Ridley to finalise its plans. The request to change restrictions was prompted by “the potential for a significant development”.

The decision to build the second feedmill came after the East Bendigo site reached its capacity of 160,000 tonnes.

PFD Food Services is the only business in the Wellsford Industrial Estate, first rezoned industrial in 2003.

PFD Food Services is the only business in the Wellsford Industrial Estate, first rezoned industrial in 2003.

The new feedmill will have a far greater capacity, and be nearly twice the size of the recently-commissioned Ridley site at Lara.

A recently-signed 10-year supply contract with Hazeldene’s Chickens gave the mill the means to meet its internal financial hurdle return rates.

Additional capacity will allow the mill to cater to the growing pig and poultry industries.

Ridley first announced it was investigating a second Bendigo feedmill in October last year with a $300,000 feasibility study.

The growth in the number of pig, egg and broiler farms in central and northern Victoria was a key part of the decision, the company stated.

The company is seeking final planning approvals before construction starts next year. It is expected to be operational in the second half of 2019.

The City of Greater Bendigo stated it had worked closely with Ridley management over the plans.