How the concept began!
The concept of Hampshire Grain Ltd goes back to the early Autumn of 1977. David Small, a Director of the then leading Southern Cooperative, SCATS, and in charge of its Grain Marketing Department was approached by a few local farmers, concerned that their own stores were becoming too small and unable to cope with the higher crop yields or speed of the modern harvest.
A large Co-operative Central Store was deemed to be the obvious answer and work commenced to convert the ideas into practice.A steering committee was formed from local interested farmers, and backed by the expertise of SCATS, a feasibility study was commissioned with each interested party contributing to the cost. The current site near Micheldever Station was the original choice and planning permission was obtained after a lot of hard work.
The original 20,000 tonne store, half in flatstores and half in silos was ready to receive grain for the 1979 harvest. Handling and drying facilities were provided in the design that would cope with up to 30,000 tonnes which was the then perceived maximum for any one site to handle.
Further additions to the store were made in 1981 and 1984 to increase the store to the originally planned 30,000 tonnes.The success of the store continued and further expansion was required. After several failed planning applications on other sites around Hampshire a further 1.2 acres of land was made available to Hampshire Grain from the neighbouring estate.
Detailed plans were drawn up to accommodate a self-contained 15,000 tonne plant with additional facilities including a gravity table and additional drying and cleaning capacity. The new store was linked both electrically and mechanically with the existing facility. This allows for the interchange of materials between the two plants, thus increasing the options available to the store management both in harvest and the rest of the year when large tonnage’s may be called for over very short periods.
In 1994 a further 2500 tonne flatstore extension was added to increase the flexibility of pooling within the store, and in 1997 the Office Block was replaced with a purpose built Office complex containing Laboratory, Office and Meeting room facilities.Over the years the site has expanded further to its present size of 60000 Tonnes with processing capacity to match. The store has continued to concentrate on its core business storing, processing and marketing members grain. The company has continued its association with SCATS, all be it under its existing personna, Openfield, who market all the pool grain entering the store and continue to provide administrative support.
To continue to meet its members requirements the company is looking for ways to increase its capacity, either through the development of a new site through cooperation with other local coops to maximise existing capacity. Any expansion has as its core requirement the need to ensure that members continue to receive the service they demand.