The boss of a huge grain store between Kettering and Corby says the site will become increasingly important in UK cereal and bread production.
The 48-acre site, just off the A6003 and adjacent to the new Corby link road, is owned by the farmers’ co-operative Camgrain.
Most prominent is the giant grain store, which currently holds about 70,000 tonnes of produce, but which is set to expand in the coming years.
Speaking to the Northants Telegraph on a tour of the site, Camgrain’s managing director Philip Darke said: “The Northamptonshire site is largely strategic because of where it sits near all the consumption.
“About 1.2 million tonnes of consumption is within 25 minutes of this site.”
Perhaps the most prominent Camgrain customer is Whitworths in Wellingborough, which in turn provides flour for all of the in-store bakeries at supermarket giant Sainsbury’s.
Mr Darke added: “You have local farmers, now with big grain infrastructure and the ability to meet the contracts that we have, for example with Sainsbury’s for more than 70,000 tonnes of milling wheat. It is milled at Wellingborough and then finishes up on Sainsbury’s supermarket shelves.”
He also said the Corby link road would improve business at the site which is due to be finished soon.
Construction work is ongoing at the site, which also received about £4.4 million from Defra to help it get off the ground and put the infrastructure in place. Camgrain is also currently recruiting.
MD explains benefit of the co-operative
Camgrain, which was founded in 1983, has four sites across the Midlands.
The county site is the most recent. Development of the grain store and processing plant, which came with a £12m price tag, began more than two years ago.
Managing director Philip Darke said: “One of the huge benefits you get with scale is the ability to always supply the consumer.
“Local farmers from all around this area send wheat into this site.
“We’ve got the infrastructure which allows us to allow them to combine when they want to combine.”
He said the site’s storage and drying facilities meant farmers who were members of the co-operative did not need to worry about poor weather at harvest time.
lower costs, more storage
Farmer Len Brookes, who owns land around Desborough, Rothwell and Pipewell, said he joined the co-operative because it gave him access to modern storage for his grain, as well as increased space.
He said: “It costs substantially less to buy it here than on my own farm.
“For me it was quite an easy decision. I am able to continue cutting milling wheat almost irrespective of moisture levels.”