Astral opens its new Feed Mill in Standerton with an Official Ceremony

Astral Foods Limited (Astral), a leading Southern African integrated poultry producer, was joined today by the Director General of the Department of Trade and Industry, Mr Lionel October, in an official ceremony celebrating the opening of a new state-of-the-art and bespoke animal feed mill in Standerton.

Chris Schutte, CEO of Astral, stated that: “The opening of the Standerton feed mill today, a R200 million project, is testimony to Astral’s long-term strategy of being an integrated low cost poultry producer. An investment in new feed milling technology places Astral in a position to support this business model, especially since feed constitutes approximately 65% of the total cost of production of a broiler. As a result, it was essential for Astral to place such an investment in the right geographical area and using the latest world class technology. The Lekwa Municipality and the greater Standerton area is the hub of Astral’s poultry production and processing business known as Goldi/Earlybird. The feed mill has been built with sufficient capacity to meet Astral’s current and future feed requirements for the Goldi operation and its strategic expansion in this region. We believe that the location of this feed mill is situated in South Africa’s highest yielding maize and soya producing areas. As a consequence, a large investment by the Noble Resources Group in an oilseed crush plant in Standerton highlights the potential future development of soya production in the area. The feed mill has been built adjacent to the Noble plant, which further underpins Astral’s “low cost poultry producer” strategy.”

Meadow Feeds, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astral, manufactures and distributes a wide range of animal feeds across the country through their other feed mills located in Randfontein, Delmas, Paarl, Port Elizabeth, Pietermaritzburg and Ladismith.

Gary Arnold, Astral’s Director for Business Development, said: “The new feed mill is designed with a capacity to produce 80 tons of feed per hour or approximately 40 000 tons of poultry feed per month. The feed mill will supply poultry feed to the Astral’s Goldi broiler operation based in Standerton. Goldi processes 1,9 million chickens per week and requires the poultry feed for all its broiler farming operations in the surrounding area. The construction project commenced with a ground breaking ceremony in October 2012, with the mill reaching commissioning stage in June 2014. The new mill employs the latest feed milling technology and will deliver benefits in energy saving and feed manufacturing technologies. Astral currently employs approximately 3 000 people in Standerton and with the new development has created approximately 50 additional jobs.” Astral acknowledges and supports consumers’ increased awareness and demand for ethical practices leading to safer food and product quality guarantees. This is increasingly relevant to modern agriculture with commercial and emerging farmers demanding the very best in animal feed. The application of world-class technology; and production standards in feed safety and production methods ensure that Meadow Feeds delivers what farmers require most in terms of good value, safe feed and superior yields.

Schutte concluded: “In an economic climate where all efforts have to be considered in order to improve efficiencies as well as control costs, we believe that this project will achieve this. We have a good relationship with the Lekwa Municipality who has given their full support for this project. This opening also signals Astral’s commitment to South Africa, job creation and stimulating primary agriculture in the region.”