This is far from run of the mill
Sajodongaone - Pyeongtaeg Mill
A high-tech operation with an annual milling capacity of 300,000 tonnes a year was the final flour-milling destination on the itinerary of this year’s CBH Grower Study Tour.
It was a case of saving the best until last, and after a week of flour mill visits the 40-plus farmers were still stunned by the near-autonomous Pyeongtaeg Mill in South Korea.
Founded in 2010, the mill is widely-regarded as one of the most advanced milling factories in Asia, and is leading the way in automation and food safety.
Its daily processing capacity is 1,200 tonnes with five lines running. Most of the milling process is automated and monitored from a central control room.
The high-tech mill is also leading the way in food safety, as the first Korean flour mill to receive the internationally-recognised food safety Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points accreditation.
With just 84 employees, the mill is located adjacent to the 800m-long and 600m-wide Sunkwang Newport Container Terminal, where bulk grain is shipped into South Korea.
For Yuna farmer Jasmyn Allen, the Pyeongtaeg Mill was not just the best mill she had ever seen, it was one of the most impressive manufacturing facilities she had seen.
“I was incredibly impressed... it was so beautiful to look at, it was probably the biggest and most impressive manufacturing of any type that I have ever walked into,” she said.
“I was so impressed by the efficiency and I really highly valued their version of what cleanliness and organisation was, and protectiveness about their food product.
“Some of the other places there was a bit of flour laying around, and the machines looked at little bit old.”
Ms Allen was interested to hear about the focus on food safety.
“It is very impressive to see the lengths they go to protect a food source ... it was about health, these people really value the nutritional values of our product,” she said.
“It is important to remember that the flour is a food product, and right from the moment we plant the seed it is someone’s food.
“As we walked into the conference room they had all of their products — there was a huge array of wheats required and that was really impressive and wasn’t specific to any one product.... there were bread flours, cake flours, noodle flours.”
Ms Allen said the visit emphasised the importance of shoring up Australia’s wheat supply.
“Our wheat is valuable for these millers to get the consistency for their traditional products,” she said.
“They were mostly looking for a secure supply, and they watch our weather and are very keen to know what is happening with the production of grains in our country.”
South Australian grain grower Shane Weckert, of Brinkworth, echoed Ms Allen’s sentiments — adding that the automation had caught him by surprise.
“The flour-mill was incredibly interesting, I could not believe how automated it was, how little human contact there was with the process,” he said. “We watched bags being stacked and it was completely automated.”
“I thought it was great to meet the end user and see how passionate they are about Australian produce.”
Wyalkatchem farmer James Haggerty, and CBH director and Dalwallinu farmer Brian McAlpine, were also amazed by the mill’s scale, cleanliness and automation.
“The two facilities we saw in South Korea were, in effect, on par or better than the high quality we saw in Japan,” Mr McAlpine said.
Mr Haggerty said he was “blown away” by the technology and quality control.
“It was such an incredibly pure product being created... the mill was like nothing I have seen before,” he said.
“It was futuristic, all perfect, and nothing was out of place... they get complete uniformity out of their products.”
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