THE grain handling capacity of the Esperance zone has received a significant boost with the opening of new storage facilities at the Chadwick receival site.
Four closed circular cells, each with the capacity to hold 20,000 tonnes of grain, were officially unveiled last Friday and will be operational for the 2019-20 harvest.
The increased 80,000t of storage takes the total capacity of the Chadwick site to 655,000t and makes it one of the largest in the CBH network.
The $16 million investment in the cells was part of $45m in total being spent on facilities in the Esperance zone as a component of the ongoing investment in the network that focuses maintenance and capital on the core 100 sites that already receive more than 95 per cent of the annual crop.
Chadwick has been identified as one of the 100 sites as grain production in the Esperance region continues to grow.
Throughput enhancements including elevators and inloading conveyors have also been installed as part of the upgrade and the new cells have a combined inloading capacity of 1000 tonnes per hour.
CBH director and Esperance grower Simon Stead said the completion of the cells built out the Chadwick site.
“The cells are the most effective way to get the most capacity on this last bit of land on the Chadwick site and also they are suitable for storing the high value products, like canola, that are grown down here,” Mr Stead said.
“Since its establishment in 1997, Chadwick has grown to be one of the biggest receival sites in the CBH network and this recent upgrade is integral in keeping up with the increased production in the Esperance zone.
“Over the past decade receivals within the zone have increased by almost one million tonnes.
“The five-year rolling average of receivals within the Esperance Zone has gone from 1.62 million tonnes in 2005-2009 to 2.54mt in 2015-2019
“This translates to a compounded annual growth rate of 4.5pc.”
Mr Stead said growers in the Esperance port zone were innovative and early adopters of technology and improved farming techniques.
“This is driving up the tonnes on a year-by-year basis and the impressive thing to me is how the tonnes are increasing on the challenging years as well,” he said.
“Last year was one of those years and we still pulled off a 2.4mt crop.
“There are also significant hectares coming out of trees in the high rainfall areas of the zone and parts of this high rainfall country are pushing for 10 tonne to the hectare crops and if we have another 100,000ha coming out of trees there is potential for a lot more tonnes so we have to cater for this growth.”