THE CBH Group is expanding its lime supply service to growers in south west WA following a successful trial last year.
CBH will stockpile limited lime supplies at its Narrakine and Lake Grace sites with pick up available from late December.
The lime is sourced through Aglime in Lancelin and backhauled by CBH during its normal grain movements.
CBH commercial manager for operations Andrew Mencshelyi said the service allowed growers in the catchment area to have easy access to lime sand, saving them time and money.
"As a co-operative, we are always looking for opportunities that will improve the profitability of WA grain growers,'' he said.
"The trial was successful in its aim to reduce freight rates, and growers who used the system are keen to do so again in the future.
"There was also improved access and availability through the stockpile at Narrakine, so we know that this is going to help increase capacity for lime sand in areas that are a long way from supplies."
Mr Mencshelyi said a limited volume was available, so interested growers should place their orders early for pick up from late December.
Grower Mark Fowler participated in the trial, picking up lime from the Narrakine site for his property at Williams and Dudinin, which he farms with wife Letisha and parents Doug and Jenny.
Mr Fowler broadcasts 1500-2000 tonnes of lime a year to reduce acidity and improve phosphorus availability in the topsoil as part of a 4000 hectare cropping operation.
He said the service offered significant cost and time savings and allowed him to further utilise his own truck.
"We purchased about 500t of lime through the CBH trial and we were quite pleased with the way it went," he said.
"We could get more use out of our truck, we could do a few trips in one day rather than only one load a day when we were taking grain to Perth and there was about a $6 per tonne savings compared to hiring a contractor.
"We are also able to backload when moving grain, so it saves us time and allows us to get more use out of our truck."
However, the cost savings may vary, due to a 12 per cent increase on the lime price since the trial, from $29.44 per tonne to $33/t ex-Narrakine.
Mr Mencshelyi said this was due to an increase in the base price of lime, a 15-20pc rise in diesel prices and costs associated with stockpiling, however CBH was still supplying the lime at cost.
He said the real benefit for growers was reducing the cost in grain freight which benefited all growers in the region.
"Due to the lime service, we have been able to drop our grain freight costs by 10-15pc from Narrakine as well as offer significant savings from the Lake Grace site," he said.
"This saving benefits all the growers in the area, not just those utilising the lime service.''
While Mr Fowler was happy with the service, he was concerned that the contract with transporter Cropline took business away from local contractors, which could reduce their availability during harvest.
"These guys rely on the lime haulage, so if we take that away, they may not want to do harvest," he said.