MILESTONE deliveries into the new T-Ports bunker site at Lucky Bay and Archer Daniels Midland site at Port Pirie have signalled the start of a new era of grain market competition on the Eyre Peninsula and Upper North.
Tony Kaden, who crops 4000 hectares at Mitchellville with brother Paul and nephew Ty, delivered the first load - 200 tonnes of feed barley - into Lucky Bay on Tuesday.
T-Ports chief executive officer Kieran Carvill said the first delivery represented a new phase for T-Ports, transitioning from construction mode into operations startup.
"There's a feeling of jubilation, but naturally it comes with trepidation because it's the start of season one and we want everything to work perfectly," he said.
With deliveries expected to ramp up next week, T-Ports has been busy making adjustments to ensure the site flow is efficient and IT systems are running seamlessly for its first season.
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"We're hopeful Lock will be filled close to capacity (140,000t), while we're hoping for 100,000t to 150,000t at Lucky Bay, but it's hard to predict at this stage," Mr Carvill said.
Mr Carvill said there had been a massive amount of support for the new venture, with 220 growers touring the Lucky Bay site in the past six weeks.
"They see the first major investment into a new supply chain and port on the EP in decades," he said.
"T-Ports are very thankful to all our growers and the industry who are showing the support for alternative infrastructure."
Ty Kaden said his family had begun harvesting barley last week, with a dry finish and warm days finishing crops quickly. Ty was satisfied with their barley quality and yield, saying they'd been reaping a "slightly above average" 1.4t/ha.
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The Kadens had previously delivered to Cowell, Arno Bay or Port Neill, with Ty saying freight savings and locality were the lures that drew them to Lucky Bay.
"ADM is presently offering the same price at Lucky Bay as that on offer at Port Lincoln," he said.
"We can deliver straight to Lucky Bay and save the freight on what would have been from Cowell to Port Lincoln - about $18/t.
"The site is also right on our back doorstep so it definitely makes sense for us."
ADM's Port Pirie site took deliveries on Tuesday, with national accumulation group manager Damian Bradford expecting the site to "kick into full gear" next week taking wheat and barley.
Mr Bradford expected 35,000-45,000t into the site this season, with growers to benefit from increased competition plus freight savings stemming from ADM's capacity to export internationally out of Port Pirie.
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