October 6, 2011


GrainCorp gearing up for bunker expansion



GrainCorp is preparing for a big harvest in Victoria with plans to expand their bunker storage by more than 400,000 tonnes.


It comes as rain in the past week has brightened prospects for a big Victorian grain crop.


GrainCorp corporate affairs manager David Ginns said almost all the company's storages in the northwest of the state would have carryover grain from last harvest.


Mr Ginns said across the region, the carryover was likely to be about 30% of last year's deliveries.


He said there would still be ample capacity across the region but there would be some constraints on segregations.


Mr Ginns said 70,000 tonnes of bunker storage had been built at Quambatook, work had begun on another 75,000 tonnes at Manangatang and approval had been given for 20,000 tonnes at Lillimur.


A further 250,000 tonnes of bunker storage at seven sites were in the planning stage.


These were: Hopetoun, 40,000 tonnes; Murrayville, 35,000 tonnes; Underbool, 20,000 tonnes; Ouyen, 50,000 tonnes; Piangil, 30,000 tonnes; Meringur, 45,000 tonnes; and Werrimull, 30,000 tonnes.


Mr Ginns said temporary bunker storages would be added to the Elmore site and there was capacity to expand at the Wheatlands Rd storage at Rainbow if it were needed.


He said the Chinkapook silo would be reopened for the first time since the pre-drought years to receive canola.


St Arnaud appears to be the only GrainCorp site to remain closed this harvest, due to it still being full with last year's crop.


Mr Ginns said receival centres at Boort, Dookie, Yarrawonga and Deniliquin might be constrained, but GrainCorp was working to clear as much grain as possible.


Other sites, such as Barnes Crossing, Oaklands, Charlton, Dunolly, Hamilton and Westmere would operate with carryover stocks from last harvest still on site, limiting deliveries or segregations, he said.


He said the shortage of space at the Manangatang site was partly due to rail problems after floods early in the year hampered exporters' ability to draw grain from the storage.


Mr Ginns said a return to a normal harvest routine across the eastern seaboard should enable it to move handling equipment into Victoria from NSW as harvests wind up in northern regions.


"This didn't happen due to the disrupted nature of the harvest (last year)," he said.


"With the dry conditions in the central west of NSW, there are some sites that may not have had the demand for mobile equipment we have seen in recent seasons, potentially allowing more receival capacity to be moved into Victoria earlier."

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