We spoke to our Production Superintendent Nic Pattrick to get an update on what’s currently happening in fertiliser operations at CSBP. 

What’s happening in fertiliser operations at CSBP? 

We are busy making fertiliser for the 2022 growing season. We operate the only compound fertiliser granulation plant in the southern hemisphere, enabling us to offer a locally developed range tailored to WA conditions.

Our storage sheds are filling up, and we are moving stock around the state so we can keep producing at maximum capacity and ensure product is available for collection well ahead of when it’s required for seeding. 

Part of making fertiliser is analysing the moisture and sizing levels and consistency. To ensure we manufacture the highest quality product we test these parameters hourly, so there’s a lot of product testing happening right now. 

This season we made the call to bring production forward, which now feels like a good decision considering recent developments regarding COVID-19 in WA. This early production has meant we are well positioned for the coming seasonal demand peak.

How has your team been going working over the summer period?
The production, maintenance and despatch team have exceeded expectations throughout the summer. Labour shortages across the state have exposed us to a challenging operational environment, but the team has banded together, and stayed focussed and extremely committed to delivering for the customer in and out of work hours. 

How do operations and sales work together to shape manufacturing plans to meet customer demands?
Grower fertiliser forecasts help give the local manufacturing team an idea of how much of each product to make for the season ahead.

A benefit of local manufacturing is if customers undertake soil testing early in the year leading to a change in their demand profile, we can alter our production program to meet their product needs for the season.

COVID-19 and the associated supply chain disruptions have made things difficult in many industries, but local manufacturing has allowed us to remain agile in responding to a more volatile procurement environment. 

What has been the most rewarding part of production since we last spoke?
The production team this year has a wide range of experience. Some team members have spent more than fifteen years working with us while some have been here less than a year. Watching the more experienced hands support and develop the less experienced team members has been a really rewarding process. Our team is even stronger and more diverse than it was twelve months ago. 

What’s an obstacle you’ve overcome since we last spoke? 
The biggest challenge we face in March is contingency planning to ensure that we can keep the manufacturing plants running while there are high rates of community transmission of COVID-19 in WA. We have executed a range of workplace controls to protect our team members and are training additional technicians to ensure we have the capacity to deal with whatever the next few months may bring. 

If you have any questions about our locally manufactured cropping products, speak to your CSBP account manager. 

Nicholas Pattrick
By Nicholas Pattrick
- Production Superintendent
Production Superintendent Nicholas Pattrick has been working at CSBP for five years. Nic started as a vacation student in the chemicals part of the business before moving over to the fertiliser business, going through the graduate program and working as a process engineer for a number of years before taking on his current role as Production Superintendent. 

In his role, Nic supports the fertiliser manufacturing facilities at Kwinana looking after the granulation plant, super manufacturing plant and Flexi-N manufacturing. 

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