Piggery expands to become second biggest in country

A staff member with one of the farm's pigs.Photo Contributed
A staff member with one of the farm's pigs.Photo Contributed Contributed

AN EXPANSION at a Darling Downs piggery is under way which will result in it being the largest in Queensland and the second biggest in Australia.

The Tong Park Piggery, located near Warra, is preparing to grow from 9000 sows to having 13,000 on site.

There are about 10 pigs from every sow, growing the overall number of pigs from about 90,000 to 130,000.

Dr Robert van Barneveld is the chief executive officer and managing director of the Sunpork Group which includes farms, abattoirs, value-adding and food businesses including the Tong Park Piggery.

He said the company had invested a significant amount of money in securing water supply which gave it the option to expand.

Tong Park Piggery.Photo Contributed
Tong Park Piggery.Photo Contributed Contributed

The company was successful in the government's recent Great Artesian Basin Tender to take water from the Precipice Sandstone and Hutton aquifers.

Dr van Barneveld said the company was still considering its options whether to expand in one or two stages.

But construction has already started expanding the finishing accommodation at the piggery.

"We're building new sheds out there now, we'll then look at other staged developments.

"We have a fresh food business as well and we need to marry our production and growth in that business.

"In time that could involve the construction of more units, feed mills and bio gas, to ensure our power independence."

Once the expansion is complete it will make the piggery the second largest in the country, behind the Corowa Piggery & Abattoir in New South Wales.

The company sources all its grain externally and Dr van Barneveld said the expansion would be beneficial to Darling Downs grain growers.

Staff outside the piggery.Photo Contributed
Staff outside the piggery.Photo Contributed Contributed

"They'll have a ready market for more of their grain," he said.

Dr van Barneveld said the majority of ham and bacon sold in Australia was imported.

He said the Tong Park meat was sold to butchers around Australia and through large retailers in Queensland.

"The benefits to the region will be during the construction phase including the additional long term employment of up to 30 employees, more markets for locally produced grain and supply chain security for the Sunpork Group which includes the Swickers abattoir in Kingaroy which will also be expanded to keep up with industry growth."

Dr van Barneveld said one of the biggest impediments to pig production in Australia was the approvals process, but said the Western Downs Regional Council process had been rapid and well supported.