By Suzanne Pender
MINISTER for agriculture Charlie McConalogue cut the ribbon on a new €1m animal feed-bagging plant at Quinns of Baltinglass last week. This investment is the latest in Quinns growth of their animal feed mill in Baltinglass.
Quinns have been producing animal coarse ration at the site for over 25 years; however, the 85-year-old family business made the leap to producing pelleted feed in 2017 with a major €5 million investment.
“Quinns strive to include maximum levels of locally-grown wheat oats and barley in our feed, as well as rolled beans, which are a quality protein source,” said William Quinn at the launch.
“In today’s age of sustainability and carbon footprint concerns, it makes sense for Quinns as millers and grain merchants to support the local tillage sector as much as possible.
“Our pelleting feed plant is the only one in the surrounding five counties, so it was a great pleasure to have the minister visit us here in West Wicklow,” said Mr Quinn.
“The last minister for agriculture to visit us was Ivan Yates back in 1996, when he cut the ribbon on our very first coarse ration feed mill. What is seldom is wonderful. The minister was very generous with his time and our dedicated team were delighted to meet with him and show him our facilities,” said Mr Quinn.
At the launch, Valerie Hobson, head of feed at Quinns, said: “This latest investment of Quinns is a highly-efficient Austrian-made Statec Binder FFS (form fill and seal) bagging plant, with new bins feeding it and a robot to palletise the bags once they are filled. This has greatly improved our efficiency in bagging animal feed.
“When the bags go through the bagger, they are formed, which reduces the plastic used in the production process. We also made a decision when sourcing our new plastic for bagging that it includes a high percentage of recycled plastic; currently 30% of our bags is made from recycled plastic and the plan is to have 50% inclusion by next spring, which is important to us as a company.
“As we look at the decisions we make, our focus is on making positive sustainable changes,” said Ms Hobson.
These investments have allowed Quinns to grow their substantial feed business, now supplying over 100,000 tonnes of feed to beef, sheep, dairy and equine customers across the Leinster area.