Kingaroy’s peanut industry has received a massive vote of confidence with the recent multi-million dollar expansion at G. Crumpton and Son’s complex at Crawford.
The last of 45 new silos was completed on Friday, taking the total storage capacity at Crumptons to about 7000 tonnes.
Owner Sonie Crumpton told southburnett.com.au the investment included four new gas-fired drying silos.
“The new silos will help growers out at harvest time,” Sonie said.
“Previously, we were often struggling when asked by growers to dry and store their peanuts.
“This has made it a lot easier for us.”
As a bonus, the new dryers are also about 30 per cent more efficient than the old system, cutting drying time from nine hours to just six.
Sixteen of the new silos have been installed around a central pivot system, while the rest stretch along a row.
“We originally were only going to put in the full pivot of 16 silos but we just kept going,” Sonie joked. “We are always chasing storage.”
It was a timely expansion for Crumptons, as peanuts have been arriving steadily from this year’s late harvest.
“The season we have just had is potentially one of our biggest,” Sonie said. “Deliveries are still coming in.”
As soon as one of the new silos was finished, it was filled the next day …
Sonie expects the record intake to continue for another six to eight weeks, with most of the peanuts coming from the South Burnett and surrounding areas.
“We have also acquired a couple of farms. Our family grew the biggest amount of peanuts we have ever grown, too,” he said.
“I expect we’ll be shelling right through to Christmas.”
The expansion at Crawford is only one of the projects that Crumptons is currently undertaking.
Sonie said work on the company’s new seed processing plant at the former Carsburgs Transport site on the Bunya Highway near Kingaroy was progressing well.
Two sheds have been constructed and a large concrete pad has been laid for a storage shed.
“Most of the equipment has arrived from the United States,” Sonie said.
“Realistically, our goal is to have it up and going by March 2020 although we may have some product running through it in late 2019.”
The seed processing plant will help to smooth out operations at Crumptons’ Crawford facility because at the moment, production has to stop and machinery cleaned down between runs to prevent any accidental mixing of seed varieties.
“Doing it here is terrible for production,” Sonie admitted.
The seed processing plant will be a major part of Crumptons’ seed program which is currently testing new cross-bred varieties in trials, as well as introducing new strains from overseas.
“We have something which we aim to release next year,” Sonie said.
“Wooroolin Runner has been bred by ourselves. It is high oleic, has small kernels and has been yielding well in both dryland and irrigated conditions but the real test will be when the farmers get their hands on it.”
The Crumptons’ projects have also provided a boost to the local economy.
“All the earthworks were done locally; we used local builders and local concreting,” Sonie said.
“It was a big investment for the area.”
And up to 10 more staff were hired to deal with the expansion … for building, manufacturing and helping to run the new drying and storage facilities.
Sonie isn’t worried by the recent purchase of his major competitor, the Peanut Company of Australia, by Bega Cheese.
“I think the acquisition of PCA by Bega will be good for the industry,” he said.
“It has basically guaranteed the future of the Australian peanut industry.
“Farmers didn’t have confidence before. It’s now great for industry confidence to have a big player in there supporting the industry.”