Silo closure impacts not realised this harvest

Silo closure impacts not realised this harvest

Agribusiness
NON EVENT: Roseworthy Strategic Site Committee chair Josh Krieg, pictured at the silos in August, said harvest deliveries had been "pretty straightforward".

NON EVENT: Roseworthy Strategic Site Committee chair Josh Krieg, pictured at the silos in August, said harvest deliveries had been "pretty straightforward".

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The full impact of Viterra's silo closures may not be realised this season, as low yields and weather hold-ups keep deliveries manageable.

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THE full impact of Viterra's silo closures may not be realised this season, as low yields and weather hold-ups keep deliveries manageable.

One of the major concerns was possible backlogs at the Roseworthy site, following silo closures in nearby regions and downgrading at others.

But Strategic Site Committee chair Josh Krieg said harvest had been "pretty straightforward".

The Roseworthy cropper said harvest only began to "ramp up" last week, but then rain came on Thursday.

"We didn't notice any hold-ups during that peak period because Viterra extended its opening hours until midnight," he said.

"It did the same when there was a total fire ban expected.

"There has also been a lot of money spent on Roseworthy so it can handle big amounts of grain, with extra bunkers and drop-off points. I think Viterra was actually prepared for it to be busier than it has been."

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Mr Krieg said there had also been a lack of grain coming in from the east.

"Normally we have a big inflow from the Riverland, but that just hasn't happened this year," he said.

"Not only have they had a poor season, but there has been grain held, bound for trains heading interstate. I don't think there has been the incentives to deliver this way."

Viterra also closed six sites on northern Eyre Peninsula, where growers were already frustrated following the company's announcement that it would no longer be using the local rail network.

But Jared Sampson, Warramboo, said this harvest had been "cruisy".

"The combination of the season and the extra competition meant turnaround times at both the Viterra and T-Ports Lock sites was exceptional," he said.

It was a good year to test both systems, but bumper seasons will return one day and that will be the true test. - JARED SAMPSON

"T-Ports has a lot of new gear and it is very efficient, while Viterra had also put the effort in to get their system humming this year.

"It was a good year to test both systems, but bumper seasons will return one day and that will be the true test."

Wudinna silo committee chair Aaron Grocke, who farms at Koongawa, agreed harvest hadn't been "real busy", so impacts had been minimal.

"T-Ports opening its two sites (at Lock and Lucky Bay) would have taken a bit of the pressure off," he said.

"Viterra also put in extra stackers at Lock and Wudinna, which counteracted a fair bit of waiting time.

"But I still think in a big year there will be issues, particularly if Viterra wants to segregate off-spec grain, they won't have the space. They need to build more bunkers and install more stackers."

Viterra operations manager Michael Hill said the company plans to invest a further $3.8 million on its Port Lincoln site next year, while continuing to upgrade its drive-over hopper and stacker fleet, sheds and new 40-metre weighbridges.

This adds to the $6m spent at the site this year to "support the transition to road transport and efficiently manage the movement of grain in the region".

T-Ports chief executive officer Kieran Carvill said the company had been pleased with the support it had received from growers and the EP community, particularly in such a challenging season.

"We are keen to continue to receive feedback from growers so we can further streamline our offerings to suit growers' needs," he said.

Viterra has received nearly 2.9m tonnes this harvest.

This past week, most of the grain received was wheat, as the barley and canola harvest was finishing up in some areas.

"Last week, our Bowmans site broke its daily receival record after deliveries surpassed 16,458t and we've seen many of our larger sites across the state receive some large tonnages," Mr Hill said.

"We have matched our opening hours and service levels to growers' needs."

Earlier this year, PIRSA estimated harvest would reach 6.2mt.

BEAN GOOD: The Kriegs harvesting Samira beans near Roseworthy on Tuesday.

BEAN GOOD: The Kriegs harvesting Samira beans near Roseworthy on Tuesday.

ROADS DECLINE

WHILE harvest has gone relatively smoothly when it comes to delivering grain to Viterra, the conditions of the local roads only continues to decline, according to Roseworthy graingrower Josh Krieg.

"The state government and councils are allowing more and more big trucks, including road trains, on our local roads, which is a good thing but not without a better maintenance program," he said.

Overall, Mr Krieg said harvest had been "reasonable" considering the lack of growing season rainfall, more frost damage than expected and poor performing lentils, but there had also been some surprising yields, particularly barley.

"We had a percentage make malting, which we didn't expect in a year like this," he said.

"Quality has been fantastic - some of the highest test weight grains we have ever had and protein s have been off the charts."

Mr Krieg said they were about 75 per cent of the way through harvest, with wheat and some beans to go.

We found frost had done more damage than we expected. - AARON GROCKE

Over on the Eyre Peninsula, Koongawa cropper Aaron Grocke said harvest had finished for many in the district - up to a month early for some.

He finished harvesting at their farm earlier this week.

"Yields have been well below average," he said.

"We found frost had done more damage than we expected. The crops looked good with big heads, but some only had 2-3 grains in them.

"Thankfully what we did reap was really good quality, with high protein and low screenings.

"Not bad considering the rain we have had - 177 millimetres for the year, when normally we average 300-350mm."

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