Nitschke Chaff 100 years of History
Nitschke chaff was first started in 1912 by Fredrick Wilhelm Nitschke (my dad’s grandfather) on Vinegrove road Greenock. It then moved to a property west of Greenock to a little village called Nain in 1914. This property was bought by Fredrick and there he set up a modern chaff mill for its time consisting of an upstairs bagging and loading area. The area of land was approx 250 acres and there Fred grew his hay for chaffing. The hay was cut into sheaves with sunshine binders, put into stand up stooks and left for approx three to four weeks to dry, then was carted by hand using horse and cart. The hay was loaded and unloaded with a three pronged pitch fork.
The chaff mill was run with a Blackstone engine and lots of flat belts used to run the equipment. One of Fredricks sons later took over the chaff mill (Ferdinard Carl). Ferdinard had 4 daughters and was looking for workers so he asked his nephew Malcolm to come and work for him. In 1969 Ferdinard relocated and built a new chaff mill on Branson road Greenock (where it currently is today), in 1973 a new hay shed was built approx 130ft by 60ft wide which seemed big at the time and was used to store the sheaved hay. In 1962 a new international tractor was bought with a robot frontend loader with a push off stacker attachment .This made the job of picking up the stooks of hay much easier to load onto the trucks.
In 1980 Malcolm and Janet Nitschke bought the business from Ferdinard and in the years to come grew the business rapidly, another new hay shed 210ft by 60ft wide went up in 1984, and in 1988 another one the same size was built. Hay was grown on the property and was also sourced from surrounding farms. In the months of November, December and January it would be nothing to unload 20 loads of hay a day and stack into the sheds by hand. In the early nineties chaff was exported to Singapore and Hong Kong but in 1994 it was stopped due to lack of rain to produce hay.
In 2010 we have just started to export chaff again in 40ft container lots. In 2000 a boiler was installed to steam the chaff and in 2001 hay making went from sheaves to wind rowed round bales, and bags of chaff also went from being hand sewn to machine stitched. In 2004 chaff started being put onto Chep pallets instead of being loaded by hand. In 1994 Malcolm son Matthew purchased a truck and started delivering the company’s chaff to their customers, which over the years has turned into doing general freight all over Australia. In 2009 they decided to join the two businesses together forming Nitschke Chaff & Freight. The business is now run by Malcolm, Janet and their son Matthew and employs 4 full time staff. And with the business being nearly 100 years old Matthews 2 sons Jayden and Korbin will hopefully keep the business running for many years to come.