Newspaper Article 1971 – $6-million Whakatu meat works expansion Part Three

$6-million Whakatu meat works expansion

Kill exceeds two-million a season

For the last two seasons the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Meat company’s Whakatu sheep and lamb kill has exceeded two-million head.

Only one other works in New Zealand, that operated by the Alliance Freezing Company (Southland) Ltd, in Invercargill has exceeded this figure.

In its first season, 1914-15, Whakatu killed 123,900 sheep and lambs, by 1927-28 the 500,000 mark was reached and by 1939-40, 750,000 sheep and lambs were being killed.

The one-million mark was reached in the 1958-59 season and in the season before last the kill ended at 2,347,372. In the season just ended the sheep and lamb kill finished at 2,050,573.

The biggest sheep and lamb kill in one day was on December 23 last year when 29,187 head were slaughtered. The first time the 20,000 mark in a day had been exceeded.

The beef kill has risen steadily through the years.

In the opening season 3190 cattle were processed. In the 1968-69 season 51,450 cattle were killed.

With the new beef boning floor in operation the following season and with cattle pouring in from several parts of the North Island the kill jumped to 78,200 head.

This season the cattle kill finished at 67,387.

Mr R. H. Bevin, former senior lecturer in agriculture at Lincoln College, Canterbury and a former director of the New Zealand Meat and Wool Board’s economic service, described the progress of the company in the September issue of the New Zealand Meat Producer.

‘UNIQUE’

“In its way, the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Meat Company is unique,” he said.

“So many co-operative ventures in the meat industry have set out hopefully, only to fail in due course for various reasons – often for sheer indifferent management as much as economic market setbacks.

“This company was formed in 1912 and was established by farmers who considered that the costs of processing throug [through] Tomoana and Pakipaki should have been on a lower scale – especially as applied to ‘owner account’ consignments.

“The company policy is one of a co-operative venture and the works is not concerned with buying and selling but with providing service for exporters who own the meat.

“Well managed from the start, Whakatu has weathered the storms of booms and depressions since the works opened in January, 1913.

“The provision which Whakatu makes and the service it affords has encouraged the operation of exporters and long-established firms in the Bay are a feature in marketing of fat stock from the farmer – more so than in meat districts. This element of competition for the animal drafts is in the interests of farmers.

“In addition to this is the facility which Whakatu has afforded for independent killing of stock on owners’ account”.

Hygiene is important factor

Hygiene standards are very important in the new boning and cutting building at the Whakatu works.

There is no paint in the beef-boning or lamb-cutting rooms because paint under such conditions tends to flake and is liable to come into contact with meat being processed.

Impervious materials have been used throughout, such as stainless steel hot-dipped galvanised iron, aluminium and tiles.

There are tiles on the floors, glazed tiles on the walls and perforated aluminium ceilings which allow cold air to filter through.

Passage ways to the beefboning-floor, to and from the conditioning and freezing rooms are completely lined with synthetic sheeting.

There are two water mains to these processing areas, one with water at the sterilizing temperature and the other at a temperature suitable for personal hygiene.

Sterilizers and was basins are fitted with taps operated by foot or knee controls.

Ground floor is mainly a service area

The ground floor of the new beef and lamb-processing building at the Whakatu works is primarily used for servicing the two processing floors.

All packing materials for edible products are stored awaiting transportation by service lift to either the beef-boning or lamb-cutting floors.

On this floor is a chiller which is used primarily to store beef cuts awaiting shipment to Australia, Singapore, Hongkong or the Pacific Islands.

These unfrozen cuts will be airfreighted to whatever market requires them.

The chiller is also used for ageing beef cuts when required by world markets.

Work is being carried out on conjunction with the Meat Industry Research Institute to develop more scientific methods of ageing meat, instead of using the chill room.

Another important item on this floor is the bone disposal unit which crushes the bones from the boning floors with the action of a giant mincing machine.

An auger takes the crushed bones into a blower which blows them 700ft to the rendering department.

Photo caption – This picture tells what a great moment in the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Meat Company’s history this was. Standing from left is the then general manager and now managing director, Mr D. R. Little, the now retired secretary, Mr E. Renouf, the then stock supervisor and recently retired works manager, Mr C. J. Cushing, and the works manager at that time, the late Mr J. Hellyer.

Photo caption – The superintendent – engineer at Whakatu, Mr E. Vickers, who joined the company in 1945 [?] as a shift engineer. He was appointed chief engineer in 1956 [?] and took over his present position in 1969 [?].

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Non-commercial use

Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ).

 

Commercial Use

Copyright on this material is owned by Hawke's Bay Today and is not available for commercial use without their consent.

Business / Organisation

The Hawke's Bay Farmers' Meat Company Ltd, Whakatu Works

Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

24 September 1971

Publisher

The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune

Acknowledgements

Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today

People

  • R H Bevin
  • C J Cushing
  • J Hellyer
  • D R Little
  • E Renouf
  • E Vickers

Accession number

887/1217/36602

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