The tanks are just as full as the order books. The shelves of the warehouse are lined with freshly filled and labelled bottles. The forklift heaves the pallets with the bulk containers into the ready-to-go truck. For ten years the family-run Multikraft business has been based at the Stumpflhof in Pichl bei Wels. The order situation is very good and the demand for Multikraft products is steadily rising. So it‘s time to make some changes. And this year - the year of the company‘s fortieth anniversary - it will be rebuilt and another milestone marked in the history of Multikraft.
Forty years ago, Ulrike and Karl Hader started the business with special, antibiotic-free animal feed, and twenty years ago, they pioneered effective ways to use Multikraft microorganisms. Ever since the company was founded, the focus has been on ecological solutions that use the processes in nature as a model. Preventive, sustainable modes of behaviour are also a basic principle of working with Multikraft microorganisms. Here, the approaches dovetail beautifully into a corporate philosophy. Lukas Hader grew up with this credo in the family business and continues this commitment - without being a dogmatist - into the second generation.
The entire product range is based on Multikraft technology, which is undergoing a constant process of development together with domestic and international research institutes. The positive response of users is one of the best endorsements of the Upper Austrian family business. Whether it is the revitalisation of our soils in agriculture or the production of residue-free vegetables in horticultural businesses - the pioneering work of Multikraft has paid off. Today it is an internationally successful company. The special feature: the entire production process takes place locally at the company‘s premises in Pichl bei Wels.
”Since 2002 we have produced all Multikraft products ourselves from scratch. All production is based exclusively on our recipes,“ says Lukas Hader. The mixing ratio of the yeasts, lactobacilli and photosynthesis bacteria is applied so that they both mutually support each other and the processes in the environment. Ready-to-use Multikraft products are produced by a six-stage fermentation process, from the individual microbes to the various mixtures that Multikraft applies in the individual application areas.
”Of course, our exact production process remains our secret,“ smiles Hader, who attaches the greatest importance to the quality assurance of the products: ”All of our products are based on globally occurring microorganism strains that comply with Class 1, i.e. they are food grade and 100 % GMO-free.“
The quality control takes place in the in-house laboratory, in which all individual microbes are tested. With the help of PCR technology, quality managers receive meaningful results within two hours. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a process applied in medical and biological laboratories and is one of the most important methods in molecular biology. At Multikraft, PCR technology is used as a two-part process for determining the DNA of microorganisms. Each batch is checked for the minimum number of different microorganisms and the absence of genetically engineered sugar-cane molasses and pathogenic germs.
”Through continuous development, research and improvement, Multikraft generates the stable quality that meets our requirements,“ emphasises Lukas Hader. In addition to the high technical standards in the laboratory and quality management, Multikraft has the greatest know-how in product development based on these microorganism mixtures through its collaboration with English agronomists and a Scottish institute.
Highly suitable products
”From the outset it has been my credo that we must develop Multikraft technology in such a way that it becomes a super-functional resource with long-term benefits for users.“ In the past, farmers or gardeners had become deeply involved in the application - preparing the original solution and molasses themselves. With Multikraft‘s professionalised product range, application is much easier. The finished products are easy to dose and straightforward to use. This makes them especially suitable for professional farms in agriculture and horticulture. For Lukas Hader, the swift introduction of large containers and the practical bag-in-box system was therefore also a concern.
”We are well established in agriculture and horticulture. Over 90% of our customers are conventional businesses that use Multikraft technology to save on chemical resources. We are proud that Multikraft products are used on a large scale, while at the same time being economical,“ says Hader. Its ultimate goal is to provide farmers and gardeners with resources that they can use to reduce their use of chemicals and avoid residues. With the aid of Multikraft products, statutory residue values can be more easily achieved and complied with, as it has been determined by independent institutes that
Multikraft products do not cause residues, while having better effects, and even degrade residues of chemical preparations faster than without the use of microorganisms. The competitiveness of the, often traditional, rural family-run farms must be maintained. Hader sees this as one of the main tasks facing Multikraft in the coming years, as he emphasises in the interview on page 10.
”This year we held our sixth field day for farmers, again at Harmer KG, a large organic farm in Lower Austria. Fifty farmers attended the first field day. This time it was over two hundred, and at least half of them were new faces,“ says Lukas Hader happily. One example among many. Interested parties from a wide variety of fields try out Multikraft technology once, and often opt for the conversion of their businesses after seeing the positive results. With these long-term experiences, Multikraft is growing steadily. But Lukas Hader is also clear that, before successful market launches, experimental phases, which also lead to new ideas, are also necessary.
There are many ways in which Multikraft products can be interwoven into work. Multikraft microorganisms enrich microbial life in the soil and provide plants with nutrients without polluting the environment. They build a milieu that suppresses rot-forming germs. They support beneficial organisms, loosen the soil and make it more water-absorbent. They activate life in the soil. It becomes a playground for earthworms, enhancing the humus structure. In livestock farming, Multikraft products help suppress rot-forming processes throughout the entire barn, in slurry, manure and solid manure. These are just a few of the benefits that come with regular Multikraft application. So it‘s not a mysterious miracle cure, but solid biology and the support of it.
With Multikraft microorganisms, Multikraft is a company with strong roots in Upper Austria. Lukas Hader is aware of the responsibility to secure more and more jobs. ”With Multikraft, I always live two or three years into the future. That way, I can act with foresight and think in advance about the effects of decisions.“ The attractive family business is well-connected in Austria and internationally.
In addition to long-term trading partners in over 35 countries, it also has two independently operating subsidiaries in Italy and Australia. BIONRG srl. in Italy and Multikraft Probiotics Australia Ltd. are also successful in the agricultural sector. For Lukas Hader, international long-term partnerships are very important. ”I visit our company in Australia two or three times a year. Otherwise, cooperation works very well over that distance. The presence of Multikraft in Central Europe is particularly close to my heart, so I devote 95 % of my time to the Multikraft parent company and its development.“
In the last six years there has been a lot of investment in ongoing operations and production has been expanded. Planning for the expansion of the company headquarters has been underway for three years now. Last year we started the detailed planning, this year we waited for the main season, and in May of this year reconstruction started. This will expand the production facility and the logistics centre.
In 2010, the production volume was around 40,000 litres of tank volume. In the meantime this fermentation volume has quadrupled. Production is bursting at the seams, all tanks are full. With the reconstruction, the production and bottling capacity will be expanded - from the current 20,000 litres per day to 50,000 litres per day. In years to come there will be room for further expansion. As a result, the production can be internally extended if necessary by the installation of further fermentation tanks.
There is also an innovative events centre. ”Passing on information about our technology is important to us, and so we decided to expand it,“ explains Hader, who counts around 200 prospective customers among his guests at Stumpflhof every day. Also, the significantly increased workforce has more space for office and break rooms. A biological lunch is on the agenda for Multikraft staff, because good food and breaks are important for keeping a clear head, for exchange and for refuelling. Hader has developed the decision to expand with a view to the next ten years: ”This is our incentive, and again a great milestone in the company‘s history.“