For the Hawkes family, vegetables aren’t small potatoes. In fact, potatoes play a pivotal role in their Victorian farm and produce business located in Boneo on the picturesque Mornington Peninsula.
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“We want to build the best machines that we can. Something that will last in the field for many years. To do that, we have to start off with the best components,” says David Eggins of Roberts Machinery, a family-owned company in Alstonville, New South Wales, best known as the manufacturer behind the Robmac macadamia nut harvester machines.
David’s father, Robert Eggins, built his first peanut harvester and bagging machine back in 1959 when he was just 19 years old. In 1962, he started the business of Roberts Machinery, which has been designing, building and repairing farm machinery for over 59 years.
With the growth of the macadamia industry in Alstonville, Roberts Machinery became heavily involved in the macadamia industry and 23 years ago, introduced the Robmac harvester, a lightweight stand-alone harvester with the ability to operate efficiently in wet and dry conditions with very low soil compaction.
Today, there are over 240 Robmac harvesters in the field, and service and support of these units has become an important part of the business for Roberts Machinery. The team also runs a production pipeline with three or six harvester units under production at any given time, building an average of 12 to 15 Robmac units each year. Read more
Evidence-based agricultural, water, and environmental policy received a boost with the signing of a new strategic partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment and Charles Sturt University. The new arrangement will bring mutual benefits to both organisations, improving research and capability by sharing knowledge and skills.
The Bühler Group is continuing to strengthen its leadership in rice processing, handling and storage capabilities.
With dedicated local services and solutions, built on thorough regional knowledge, it is able to meet the exact needs of customers across the world.
Bühler was founded 150 years ago and has, over that time, continually renewed its strategic commitment to its customers worldwide.
Now, as the global leader in the supply of industrial food processing systems, contributing approximately 30 percent of global rice production, Bühler is now the number one supplier in industrialised rice processing.
Its position in the industry as a trusted technology partner to processing businesses is further underlined by its raft of innovative solutions to suit the needs of processors large and small.
Rice is grown on every continent, apart from Antarctica, and is a staple food for more than half of the world’s population.
In fact, one billion people globally are directly or indirectly reliant on rice – either for food or income, or both.
With the world’s population predicted to reach 8.27 billion by 2030, demand for rice is expected to increase by approximately 100 million tonnes to 550 million tonnes in the same period.
Bühler is well prepared to play a key role in processing these fast growing rice volumes: thanks to significant contract wins over the past 12 months, the company has taken the pole position in global industrialised rice processing, exceeding its closest competitor in terms of combined turnover in rice milling and logistics.
Today, around 30 percent of the global rice harvest will be processed on systems from Bühler.
This accomplishment is owed to Bühler’s commitment and success in delivering global expertise with local customer service and its ability to understand every step along the value chain.
The company not only understands the raw material, but the individual drivers in the handling and production process – from receipt of freshly harvested paddy, all the way to the finished and packed rice.
Bühler’s locally-based experts proactively support and advise customers in the decision making process, creating a real impact in reducing post-harvest losses.
As global demand for food rises so does the pressure to reduce food waste, which already stands at well over 315 million tonnes of food every year.
In its markets, Bühler has introduced a number of different initiatives to reduce food loss worldwide – and is thereby helping to fight global food shortage.
Detlef Blass, Head of Rice Processing Europe and Americas explains: “Paramount to Bühler’s success are the 80 plus sales and service centres around the world. They have a deep-rooted understanding of the issues affecting the markets they operate in and cement Bühler’s ability to adapt its technology and business model to the needs of processors in each area.”
In the region – for the region
Furthermore, Centres of Competence located in major rice producing markets, including India and China, house the world’s best rice technology and nutrition experts, who are well placed to develop regional rice processing and added-value technology solutions that meet distinct local requirements in paddy handling, storage, and milling.
The success achieved in South East Asia is a perfect example of this formula and highlights Bühler’s widening technology and engineering footprint in the key rice processing markets.
Rustom Mistry, Head of Rice Processing for China and South East Asia explains: “In the past two years we have secured in excess of USD 100 million worth of business, including the company’s largest-ever contract for rice processing, a landmark agreement with Merry Rice in Thailand.”
The contract, for more than 50 Bühler SORTEX S UltraVision™ optical sorters, and 50 high-capacity UltraPoly™ rice polishers, will result in the world’s largest rice mill, capable of processing more than 10,000 tonnes of rice per day.
Other contracts secured in South East Asia include the first complete rice mill in Vietnam for Phung Hoang, an exporter in high quality rice from Vietnam, a pre-cleaning and dryer complex for Capital Rice in Thailand and a complete paddy processing plant for Nine Seas in Myanmar.
Bühler is also building a strong customer base in South Asia, particularly India and Bangladesh. Sunil Ranade, Head of Rice Processing for South Asia, Middle East and Africa, points out that Bühler recently installed its first UltraLine™ Rice Mill in Bangladesh with the 16 tonnes per hour rice mill.
This was a progression of the partnership between Bühler and Erfan Group, the country’s largest rice processor and supplier, which began in 2013. Further success in the region includes contracts with City Group, Patel Agri, SKML and most recently a 12 tonnes per hour paddy to brown rice processing plant for Galaxy Rice Mills in Pakistan.
A key component of the success in rice processing has been the growing demand and acceptance of Bühler’s leadership in optical sorting for rice.
Offering a comprehensive portfolio of fully automated rice optical sorters from 4 to 16 TPH including innovations such as the SORTEX S UltraVision™ allows rice processors to specify a Bühler optical sorter that delivers the specific rice quality and sorting capacity that meets their exact output requirement.
“Earlier this year, Bühler launched its new Bühler W optical sorter in response to the growing demands from small to medium sized rice processors. Within just three months, the company had already confirmed more than 100 single machine contracts in India alone. Further product launches include its recently developed product line, which provides a bespoke rice milling solution for low capacity processors,” Sunil Ranade continues.
Bühler is also trading strongly in Europe where it has completed a combination of new installations and plant upgrades.
Much of this additional business came from existing customers, including a Spanish-based multinational food group.
It installed a 100% Bühler rice grinding plant – the largest in the world – producing high value premium rice flour for use in baby foods, instant beverages and gluten free products.
Meanwhile in the Americas, market development and penetration for Bühler rice processing solutions remains buoyant.
In Columbia, Bühler has supplied engineering and accessories for a paddy project, processing more than nine tonnes per hour.
One of Central America’s largest rice producers has also invested in a second UltraLine™ whitening and polishing unit including all accessories – increasing production from paddy input to almost 40 tonnes per hour.
In Costa Rica, one of Bühler’s largest rice processing customer’s is planning further upgrades to its automated rice processing plant.
In North America, Bühler secured a USD 1.5 million contract to supply SORTEX S UltraVision™ sorters to four rice processors, including two of the largest farmer-owned rice producers in the US, establishing Bühler as a first choice technology partner in this established rice market.
Bühler will continue to expand local sales and service channels, plus build expertise to further strengthen its provision of energy efficient, processing technologies for emerging and mature rice markets worldwide. Bühler’s commitment to understanding and serving its customers, underpinned by a solid strategy of forging and investing in long-lasting business partnerships with rice processors, large and small, around the world, will ensure that Bühler remains in pole position for 2016, where several significant rice projects are further expected.