CBH silent on wheat pool deliveries

31 Dec, 2006 09:00 PM
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THE CBH Group wheat pool is under attack for allegedly dumping lesser grade wheat into the national pool and charging growers 52pc more for storage and handling than it did five years ago. AWB industry relations manager Paul Ryan said AWB was receiving all grades of wheat and paying the full price for them but CBH Group was paying a premium for selected grades only and dumping unwanted wheat into the AWB pool. CBH Group was awarded a licence by Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran two weeks ago to export half a million tonnes of wheat to Indonesia. The WA cooperative would not reveal the amount of deliveries to its wheat pool when Farm Weekly contacted it late last week. A CBH Group spokesperson said they could not disclose the exact amount delivered to their pool, but the majority of grain in warehouse had been transferred to their wheat pool since their export permit was granted. The spokesperson said they were confident of surpassing the required tonnage of 500,000t as granted in the licence. Mr Ryan said about 1.3mt of wheat had been delivered by WA growers to the AWB pool to date this season but figures could be a week behind growers' warehouse transfers because CBH Group was taking up to a week to process transfers into the AWB pool. Administration costs for pooling seemed to differ between WA's two major grain sellers. The CBH Group spokesperson said management costs for the cooperative's wheat pool were 0.75pc of the FOB value of this season's pool, regardless of volume. "The estimated pool returns reflect a deduction of our management fee, and the $4/t levy payable to the AWB national pool on the 500,000t licence," the spokesperson said. "CBH Group has been offering free warehousing for growers into the new year with a final date to be confirmed, but normally a warehousing charge of $0.45/t is applied. "Standard time based storage charges will apply from February 1." But Mr Ryan said CBH Group charges had increased 52pc in the past five years. "We do not charge WA growers for storage," he said. "CBH does that and the costs are reflected to growers in the estimated silo returns posted on our website and at bins. "The cost of managing the AWB pool was estimated at $39.5 million, down $26m on the much bigger 2005-06 pool. "However, due to the Minister's announcement, we are reviewing whether services can be cut to reduce this cost further." Mr Ryan said AWB did not need any pool delivery paperwork from growers other than initial registration. "We provide growers with quarterly or monthly statements of their pool equity and harvest finance position, depending on their preference," he said. The CBH Group spokesperson said there was little difference in paperwork between CBH and AWB. "All our options can be finalised online through LoadNet, and growers who take out the flexible drawdown option can do so by filling out a simple application form," they said. The spokesperson said CBH Group had predicted a WA wheat harvest of about 4.4mt. Mr Ryan said AWB expected WA growers to deliver about 3.5mt into the national pool this season. "It was always dependent on the government's decision on the single desk," he said. "But we have unrestricted export capability while other exporters are constrained by permits."

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