HARVEST operations will not be affected by the announcement CBH is to cut 60 jobs from its business, but growers may experience impacts in other dealings with the co-operative.
The announcement was made to staff and growers yesterday as a part of initiatives to save $25 million in the business over the next two years.
Also affected by the announcement will be CBH's Better Farm IQ program and possible the sale of subsidiary company Lupin Foods Australia.
CBH chief executive officer Andy Crane said it was a "tough week" for the business and support would be provided for existing staff and those who will leave the business through career transition support and counselling.
"It’s tough for the business, both people who are leaving and indeed for those that remain we know that it has a major impact on them as they lose friends and colleagues," he said.
"So our aim is very much to focus on caring, being open and transparent and respectful through this process."
Dr Crane said the changes announced yesterday were the first in ongoing efforts to make operations more efficient and reduce the dollar per tonne charged to growers.
"As we try to save $25 million over the next two years head count will be only a proportion of that and not indeed the larger proportion of what we will do," he said.
"The larger proportion will be from other savings across the business.
"We’re looking at pretty much everything from procurement, fleet, anything and everything we can do to have a material impact on the dollar per tonne charged to growers for the use of the supply chain."
Dr Crane acknowledged freight costs were a concern for CBH as growers paid more than Eastern State and international counterparts.
"The business operates to a measure set by the board of the dollar per tonne charge to growers minus rebates from other businesses," he said.
"That focuses us on the cost of the supply chain between the paddock all the way to the international market place.
"The growers own CBH and the best way we can keep growers competitive, where we can’t influence everything... but we can influence the cost of that supply chain."
Dr Crane said the purchase of the CBH fleet of trains was a strategic cost to push down freight charges, but access fees charged to CBH by rail leaseholder Brookfield Rail were also a concern.
"We’ve brought a material change to freight rates in that respect, but clearly we’ve been very consistent that the access fee we pay has also been going up and going up steeply and mopping up many of the savings that we are making," he said.
"So we will continue to make sure that part of the supply chain is a focus as we should be paying a competitive rate, comparable to the Eastern States and growers around the world as that’s who our growers are competing with."
Network optimisation through bin closures, upgrades and pathways to port is also a cost saving area in CBH's sights and this topic has been discussed at the 90 pre-harvest grower meetings held by the co-operative.
"We’ve got some strong feedback from growers about the need for change and understanding of the sorts of things that would change," he said.
"That’s part of the consultation with members and we will be bringing that back to the board for their consideration.
"As much as it would immediately focus on bin numbers and where they are that is only one part of why growers pay what they do.
"The efficiency of the being able to outload onto truck or train, investment in path to port, investment in ports, number of sites we have, how old they are and how we maintain them is being considered.
"It’s a highly complex piece of analysis for us to say to growers it's in their interest that the network looks like this.
"The vast majority of growers understand the need for change and ultimately we’re only going to bring to the board and only going to approve something in the growers’ interests.
"No decisions have been made about specific sites."