Yumbah Aquaculture opens new abalone feed factory in Lonsdale

First published on Adelaide Advertiser 11 September 2018. Click here to read the full article.

YUMBAH Aquaculture’s new food manufacturing plant at Lonsdale is helping nourish thousands of hungry abalone in Australia, ready for export across the world.

The company will today officially launch its new Heath Rd factory, after spending about $750,000 moving from a smaller, older property in the suburb.

Yumbah Aquafeeds general manager Bob Hall said the company’s major export markets were the US, Japan and China, but there was also “enormous” growth potential for the industry in Australia, which was yet to develop a taste for the shellfish.

“If I said, ‘Let’s have a barbecue’, the first thing that comes to mind is not, ‘Let’s put some abalone on the barbecue’,” Mr Hall said.

“But it’s revered in Japanese and Chinese culture.”

Yumbah is the largest abalone producer in the Southern Hemisphere, and now owns and manages every step in the production process — from food development and packaging, to farming and sales.

The company produces abalone at its four farms in Port Lincoln, Kangaroo Island, Narrawong in Victoria and Bicheno, Tasmania, and expects to turn over $27 million this year.

Yumbah bought the former Eyre Peninsula Aquafeeds business on Donegal Rd last year, moving to the new site on Heath Rd because of its greater capacity to meet current and future demand.

The company employed an extra staff member as part of the move, and has plenty of space for extra processing machinery as demand increases.

“The good thing about being here in Lonsdale is with the automotive business dying, it’s good to have some growth here,” Mr Hall said.

“Success stories in Lonsdale are pretty thin at the moment. There used to be Mitsubishi here and the oil refinery was an active hub, so for a company to invest here it’s good.”

Yumbah can now manufacture 120 tonnes of feed a month, compared with about 90 tonnes at the previous property.

The feed is a mixture of wheat, soy, vitamins and minerals, processed into varying sizes suitable for baby, juvenile and adult abalone.

Mr Hall said the company was also moving from polypropylene packaging to biodegradable paper bags, in an effort to become more environmentally sustainable, meaning up to 6000 fewer large bags a month will end up in landfill.

The company exports about 80 per cent of its abalone to the US and Japan, and hopes to expand orders to China.

Industry and Skills Minister David Pisoni, who is officially opening the factory today, said overseas and interstate markets were hungry for SA’s world-class seafood and demand for premium produce was outstripping supply.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is supporting the aquaculture industry to help it reach its full potential, including through boosting exports, lowering taxes and increasing employment opportunities,” Mr Pisoni said.

“Yumbah Aquaculture’s investment in South Australia is absolutely aligned with that purpose.”