Definite cost benefits to on-farm storage

31 Jul, 2009 02:00 AM

EXPERIENCED farm consultant and grain storage analyst David Bedbrook says the advantages of storing grain on-farm far outweigh the argument against doing it.

Mr Bedbrook is a past president of the WA Australian Association of Agricultural Consultants and has been actively involved with on-farm storage and helping growers market their grain to the WA domestic market for the past 30 years.

He said the big advantage in on-farm storage, which has been sparked by the deregulation of wheat exports over the past two seasons, was emerging export marketing opportunities.

"It is my view that on-farm storage can be very profitable for growers and help them save money," he said.

"On-farm storage is an asset of the farm.

"If growers build it, it will add value to their farm business, but the same can't be said about their shareholding in CBH.

"I think it is also worth mentioning grain is a bulk commodity and is just that, worth $200-$600/tonne.

"It must be grown and taken from the farm to the final user, for the least cost.

"Some people are quick to point out the disadvantages of doing it, but I disagree with their view that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages."

Mr Bedbrook said he was referring to silo storage and other sealed aerated manageable space, and not bags.

"On-farm storage is also very important to growers' business, because it is something they can physically do something with," he said.

"They can physically use it, and manage it, make money out of it and save costs."

In the 1980s Mr Bedbrook was involved with a Royal Commission that held an inquiry into on-farm storage, freight and handling, the McColl Inquiry.

He said the inquiry was made at a time when the Australian grains market was fully regulated in marketing and the storage system.

"The finding was there needed to be more competition and that on-farm storage had a role to play," he said.


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