Cover story: Agrifeeds Tauriko

By: The Editor, Photography by: Earl Edwards

Agrifeeds is now in its second round of Hyundai machinery supplied by Porter Equipment, so we went along to find out more about the leading stock food supplier and its machinery requirements

The Hyundai HL980 is powered by a 335hp (250kW) @ 2000rpm Cummins engine

In Tauranga’s newest industrial suburb of Tauriko, stock food supplier Agrifeeds is busily working on keeping New Zealand’s dairy industry healthy and well-fed.

It’s here the business mixes sustainably sourced raw products and discarded dry products, such as biscuit meal and distillers dried grain and other types from the food manufacturing industry to produce high-quality custom mixes for the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions.

Alongside their other plant and distribution centres in Marsden (Northland), New Plymouth, Washdyke (Timaru), and Kennington (Southland), the business is one of the largest providers of animal feed to the rural sector.

In only a few minutes, another truck and trailer load is ready for delivery

"Essentially our business delivers sustainably resourced balanced nutrition, allowing farmers to supply high-quality milk for consumption," says Agrifeeds general manager Phil Harrison.

Efficient and moving

A standard-sized bucket on the 30.5T Hyundai HL980 is 5.6m3, although Agrifeeds use oversized ones due to the product weight

Keeping the operation efficient and moving at its fast pace is Porter Equipment supplied Hyundai machines, consisting of 10-wheel loaders and one excavator operating from the production plants and distribution centres across the Agrifeed locations.

The Hyundai R250LC-9 is primarily used for stockpiling purposes

The latest acquisition to be put to work at Tauriko is a 30.5-tonne Hyundai HL980. Powered by a 335hp (250 kW) at 2100rpm Cummins engine, the machine is one of three loaders located at the plant, which also includes a Hyundai R250LC-9 excavator.

Agrifeeds has 10 Hyundai wheel loaders and 1 excavator across its NZ locations

Ramping it up

As one would expect, things ramp up when a ship arrives at the Tauranga port, with the primary store receiving more than 30,000 tonnes of palm kernel, delivered in an around-the-clock operation until completed.

At a rate of over 400 tonnes per hour, it’s here that the wheel loader and excavator will work in tandem to fill the store efficiently.

"We sit the excavator up high on a bench and the wheel loader will push product to it," says Phil. "From there, the excavator places it right up to the roof and into the corners of the shed, so we make use of all available space.

"Service is critical, which is why we’ve chosen to partner with Porter Equipment. As you can appreciate, discharging a vessel is 24/7 and we can’t stop or deal with breakdowns at any time during the process."

The Hyundai HL980 interior features upgraded air filtration and loader scales

To help when filling the primary store, work has almost been completed on a large pushing bar. Consisting of a dozer blade planted atop a 12-metre extension, when required, it will be attached to the Hyundai HL980 and allow the machine to push product further up the stockpile.

The 12m pusher bar will soon be put to work on a Hyundai loader to assist with stockpiling

Preparation of product

To the untrained eye, sitting in the stockpile palm kernel looks much like fine soil. The next step will see one of the Hyundai loaders put to work loading a screening plant with the raw feed.

This ensures consistency with the business’ high production standards. Once completed, the palm kernel is ready to transport out to the other Agrifeed plant and distribution centres or sent across the complex to the mixing shed.

As the name suggests, this is where the custom stock feed is made from a list of some 18 dry and liquid ingredients, along with numerous different minerals and natural additives; think of a massive cake mix.

"Our reps will visit farmers and we test and identify what’s lacking in the animal diets," says regional site manager Graham Swainson. "From there, we will make a custom blend containing the correct nutrients for that specific farm."

Once again, the mixing shed keeps the third Hyundai HL770-9 wheel loader busy as it selects individual ingredients from the numerous bays within the shed as it feeds the blending machine’s hopper.

"We’re constantly replenishing the bins in the mixing shed from our storage areas, so the loaders are critical to keeping the operation in order," says Graham.

Equipment set-up

Communications and advanced pedestrian warning systems are a necessity when working indoors

With the raw products Agrifeeds handles, they tend to be more bulk than weight, so this allows for the fitting of oversized buckets, which in the case of the Hyundai HL980, is a step up to 10 cubic metres from the already formidable 5.6 cubic metres standard bucket.

With the machines operating indoors, upgraded air filtration systems have been fitted, along with bucket scales, reversing and radar detection systems for pedestrians and other difficult-to-see objects.

Operator Robert Anderson

"The Hyundai loaders are excellent to use," says operator Robert Anderson, "The seat is really comfortable, and it has good visibility. There’s plenty of power, so it’s easy to do long stretches behind the wheel and not get fatigued."

Second round

Agrifeeds is on its second round of Hyundai machines in four years and has high regard for its brand of choice. "Our business needs big gear and Porters know our requirements and what equipment we need to achieve that," says Phil.

"Our business is dependent on the service and machinery provided by Porter Equipment. They look after all our servicing and have never let us down. It’s a true partnership in every sense."

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