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Left: The mill at Llansantffraid Right: One of the Group’s 28 Country Stores


Group’s agricultural base – they remain places where customers can come in to buy products off the shelf to drench their cows, worm their sheep, spray their fields or feed their stock. There are also 17 dedicated pet stores, operating under the Just


For Pets name These tend to be sited near to major population centres like Birmingham and Wolverhampton to target the huge market in the UK for companion animal supplies, including pet food. The latest one to be built is in Bristol, with two more due to come on stream imminently, and plans for additional expansion through acquisition and organic growth to add another 10 to 20 units. Of course, Feed Compounder readers will be most interested in


the feed side of Wynnstay’s operations. Like the rest of the Group, feed production has grown enormously in the last couple of decades. In 1984, at which time it was producing less than 30,000 tonnes


per annum of exclusively ruminant feed, fire destroyed what was then the company’s only mill, at Llansantffraid. Of course, it was devastating, but the rebuilding and re-equipping which was required to get the mill back up and running in 1985 allowed Wynnstay an opportunity to create one of the most (if not, the most) modern feed production facilities of the time. The following year, in 1986, a new company nutritionist named


Richard Flack was appointed. Some 25 years later, still with the company (although over time his role has grown to encompass first technical sales and, more recently, responsibility for production) and with his East Anglian accent still apparent after a quarter of a century living on the Welsh borders, Richard (right) was one of the hosts for my visit. With his geographical origins, it is


unsurprising that much of Richard’s experience and knowledge prior to joining Wynnstay had been on the pig and poultry side. Indeed, one of the reasons he was appointed was to bring in the expertise necessary to help the mill expand into monogastric feed production in order to address the problem of the under-utilisation of capacity in the summer months, which had been the case up to that time as a ruminant-only facility. In those days, this problem was even more exaggerated than it is today when patterns of feeding cows have changed to mean that there is greater requirement for feed in summer; even so, the policy of deliberately going out to target pig and poultry has paid off, not only in counterbalancing what remains of the seasonal pattern of ruminant feed production, but also spreading risk over the various sectors. As Richard comments: “The price of milk, eggs, beef, pork, lamb and chicken all vary over time – but it’s not often that everything is ‘on the floor’ together”.


Right: The mill at Carmarthen FEED COMPOUNDER MARCH 2011 PAGE 25 Partly as a result of expanding into other sectors, and partly as a


result of the determination by the directors, once they had a modern mill to keep investing in it as necessary to keep it, to quote my other host, Ruminant Feeds Product Manager Steve Brown (left) “in the Premier League”, production from the mill has sky-rocketed. Since 1986, output from the Llansantffraid mill has increased six- fold to 180,000 tonnes. The latest project, which involved rewiring and upgrading the process control system, has helped push the mill on to a record output seen recently of 850 tonnes


in a single day; Richard is confident that 900 tonnes is achievable. He pays tribute to his production team in reaching these new levels, especially to Ray Jones, the production manager. This last winter has been particularly challenging, with temperatures 15 degrees below zero, valves were freezing with monotonous regularity, but the guys in the mill worked through to overcome all the problems and keep feed production going. The other compound mill within the Group is the 120,000 tonnes


production facility at Carmarthen in the south of Wales. This ex-Dalgety mill, in which Wynnstay had a part share up until two and a half years ago but which they now fully own, has increased production from 90,000 tonnes to the current level following investment to convert it from a ruminant only mill into one capable of producing blends and layers mash. The latest tranche of investment, a quarter of a million pounds worth, is part way through so that the level of output could soon rise further to 130 or 140,000 tonnes – as Richard comments: “You resolve one bottleneck and then find the next”. The work so far has included fitting an inverter to the grinder at Carmarthen (which, unlike the one at Llansantffraid, does not have automatic screen change) to slow the grinder down to allow the production of mash. The company is keen to


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