Construction is ongoing on the final phase of a major expansion at Grain Millers north of Yorkton.
“This is the culmination (of an expansion) that dates back over three years,” facility general manager Terry Tyson told Yorkton This Week.
Tyson said the overall facility has been gearing up to add production capacity with a sort of phased in expansion that started with an upgrade to its grain receiving areas, and has included adding additional storage capacity, including in the ‘work in progress’ area which allows for product to be temporarily held at any point in the process from cleaning, through hull removal, to kilning, cutting and processing into groats, flour or flakes.
The final step in the overall expansion is currently under construction, adding final milling capacity. The work, which has faced some weather-related issues this winter is still hoped to be complete and in operation this fall, said Tyson.
“Oct. 1, is still our target date,” he said.
The new addition will nearly double production at the plant.
As Grain Millers in Yorkton currently operates they produce 100,000 metric tonnes of processed product annually, said Tyson.
The completed expansion will increase production to 180,000 metric tonnes annually, or an increase in capacity of 80 per cent.
“It will be our (Grain Millers) biggest (oat processing plant),” said Tyson “Iowa has been the biggest but this will be.”
With the increased capacity the facility will also need more staff, “about 30 more people,” said Tyson, adding “a few of which we have already hired.”
The expanded plant will require about 280,000 metric tonnes of oats, most of likely still accessed in the local region.
“To-date our catchment area has been about 120 miles,” said Tyson, adding while Grain Millers does not get every bushel of oats grown in that area by far “… we think it will need to get a little bigger (the collection area).”
That said, Tyson said the reason for the expansion here is the availability of oats.
“This is where the oats are,” he said.
The three-year expansion will see a final investment of about $100 million, said Tyson.
Grain Millers bought the original milling facility in 2001.