Silo stocks low as on-farm storage the go

Silo stocks low as on-farm storage the go

Agribusiness
DE Engineers principal Kevin Prater said he has employed additional staff to meet unprecendented demand for grain silos in preparation for the upcoming harvest.

DE Engineers principal Kevin Prater said he has employed additional staff to meet unprecendented demand for grain silos in preparation for the upcoming harvest.

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ON-FARM grain storage will be tight this year as grain silo manufacturers and silo bag importers experience unprecedented demand for product coming into harvest.

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ON-FARM grain storage will be tight this year as grain silo manufacturers and silo bag importers experience unprecedented demand for product coming into harvest.

DE Engineering principal Kevin Prater said this season the company had sold the "largest amount of silos in decades".

The company have employed an additional 20 employees to meet demand for grain silos.

He said the company's 11 metre, 152-tonne spiral silo had been in strong demand as growers wanted to "drought proof" themselves by storing on-farm.

"There are three reasons why growers are looking more at on-farm storage - one is that the rail system is shrinking, second is the lack of trucks that are available during harvest - and finally, they can often get more money for the grain after harvest, deliver when they're ready and traders that don't have storage will often offer a premium to have the grain delivered direct from farm to boat."

He said the company was also working with a second company to develop a locally designed aeration controller to control insects and regulate temperature in the silos thereby further reducing the risk of damage to grain and cost of using fumigant.

Seed & Forage Bags owner Tom Saint said the company has sold out of silo bags in WA.

He said in an average year the company would normally sell about 2500 bags Australia-wide, however this year there had been an increase to 3500 bags.

Of those about 600 bags have been sold into WA.

The bags are imported from Argentina and vary in size from a 60 metre bags, which can hold 200 tonnes of wheat, through to a 150m bag to hold 490t.

"With the way the season has gone we could have sold even more but we just wouldn't be able to import them in time," Mr Saint said.

Storage within the CBH network was also expected to be tight, however CBH operations general manager David Capper said there would be one million tonnes more storage available compared to 2015.

This included 800,000t of of additional harvest storage at Shark Lake, Gairdner, Mirambeena, Hyden, Narrakine, Wickepin, Bulyee, York, Bruce Rock, Merredin, Dulyalbin, Mukinbudin, McLevie, Beacon, Konnongorring and Moora and an additional 200,000t from improvements through the CBH network strategy.

Carryover grain has also been reduced to 1.5mt, which is below the 2mt estimated by CBH in July.

He said grower meetings beginning this week in Geraldton and throughout the State would provide an idea of storage demands for the upcoming harvest.

Mr Capper said the two main concerns for CBH heading into harvest were the mix of varieties to be delivered and where expected delivery was to occur and harvest at shipping.

"The grower meetings are the next major reassessment for us to get a clearer picture of what growers expect to yield and an assessment on any frost or water damage that has occurred during the season," Mr Capper said.

This year the co-operative was offering a direct to vessel service, allowing them to bypass storage and deliver straight to port, freeing up valuable bulkhead space.

"While the season is not necessary a driver in using this service, it does deliver a lot of value due to its efficiency," he said.

"For example, a 60,000t delivery straight to port is the equivalent of two CBH bulkheads - this means we don't have to build more storage and every tonne shipped is one we don't have to store and allows us to use the supply chain more efficiently."

Mr Capper said CBH was expecting to see canola being delivered in the next fortnight in the Geraldton region as swathing gets underway but the bulk of grain to begin flowing in from the start of October.

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