Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Australasia’s first Precision Blending Plant


Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, was at our Christchurch Works to officially open the first Precision Blending Plant in Australasia. The new blender’s advanced technology will change the way some farmers receive and use fertiliser, with economic and environmental benefits throughout the supply chain.

At the opening of the our $6 million innovation, Greg Campbell, Ravensdown CEO, said staff have been working tirelessly for a number of years to bring the Precision Blending Plant, which offers precise blends and coatings of fertiliser, to New Zealand.

It’s taken three years to get here, from validating the Sackett technology in the USA to engineering the build. It has been a mammoth project and we’re excited to bring this technology to New Zealand to play our part in achieving a more sustainable and profitable future for the agribusiness sector.

The plant has two innovative components that will see more precise blends and coatings of fertiliser made to order at three times the previous speed for farmers.

The plant allows for faster processing due to its intricate and significant storage capacity, while the High Intensity Mixer utilises its twin counter-rotating shafts and overlapping paddles to gently and thoroughly mix all ingredients, both dry and liquid trace elements.

“What this means is that we’re now able to process and dispatch 250 tonnes of precision, made to order, fertiliser blends an hour, with less handling, compared to the 80 tonnes we currently do,” said Mike Manning, Ravensdown Innovation and Strategy General Manager.

Chertsey farmer and Ravensdown shareholder Ross Hewson said, "It's great to see Ravensdown investing in precision technology and productivity. We're really looking forward to the efficiency gains we'll achieve now, with the plant's capability to deliver our tailored blends pretty much instantly. With the variable rate spreading and the more intense monitoring we're doing with micro-nutrients today, this is a huge advantage for us."

In addition to the efficiency and quality gains the innovative technology brings, are the environmental and health and safety benefits, with less dust and exposure of staff to moving parts.

“With less handling of the product, due to the plant’s ability to quickly load the precision blends directly onto trucks, there is less dust generated at both ends of the delivery chain. A win for staff and farmers,” Campbell said. “This also means the plant area has less thoroughfare, which keeps our people and external contractors safe.”

Manning said the technology brings Ravensdown another big step towards enhanced precision in agriculture.

“Canterbury farmers will be the first to be able to order custom blends of fertilisers and trace elements, tailored from their soil test results at our Analytical Research Laboratories. Using these precise blends in conjunction with our precision spreading technology and Smart Maps system, puts Ravensdown at the forefront of Ag innovation, arming farmers with the technology to maximise productivity sustainably.”

While our advanced technology will initially only be available to Canterbury farmers, effective immediate, the company has plans to upgrade selected Ravensdown plants in both the North and South Islands.