FORMER AusBulk chairman Kevin O'Driscoll believes the rejection of ADM's GrainCorp bid shows SA growers sold their handling assets too cheaply.
"I think the SA system was a much more modern system than NSW, Vic and Qld," Mr O'Driscoll said. "It had significantly lower operating costs and a greater capacity for intake, and I think it's quite clear that SA growers gave the system away.
"They could've doubled their money if they'd been prepared to hang on, or they could've built an internationally competitive company that was owned by growers if they'd been patient, but unfortunately they weren't and they have to wear the consequences."
Mr O'Driscoll is part of a small group of farmers trying to establish a receival facility at Tailem Bend, but is facing an uphill battle to join the industry.
"One of the frustrations we have is dealing with local government. They don't seem to have any concept that time costs us money, and we've been the best part of two years trying to get approval from the Coorong Council," he said.
"Local government, while generally speaking they make the right noises in terms of saying they welcome more investment in their region, their processes and their timeframes mitigate against any enthusiasm you have to establish a project that could ultimately see the investment of anywhere between $6 million and $12m.
"The plan at this stage is that it will service both the domestic market, the export market through Outer Harbour or a new port development in Port Adelaide. We believe that because it's got access to the interstate rail network from Adelaide to the Port of Melbourne, in drought years in Victoria it would enable us to shift grain into Vic."
* Full report in Stock Journal, December 19 issue, 2013.