Bin burster for Victorian grain producers

Gregor Heard
By Gregor Heard
December 17 2020 - 6:00am
Tom Jones, Jacob Glare, Kyra Clarke and Jackson Cross at work at the Natimuk site on Tuesday.

IT HAS been obscured by the big NSW turnaround, but Victoria is once again enjoying an excellent cropping season, which could push to be the biggest on record.

As of Tuesday GrainCorp had received 1.345 million tonnes in Victoria, with 648,300 in the past week.



And there is still plenty more to come.

GrainCorp Murtoa site manager Nathan Tepper said Wednesday's result of 13,500 tonnes received was believed to be a daily record and that with the focus shifting to wheat it was expected there would be a run of big days over the next week.

He said the Murtoa site had so far taken around 140,000 tonnes and would continue to take significant volumes right up until Christmas before the harvest tapered off.

It is a similar story at Nhill, where GrainCorp site manager Fraser Kent took 13,160 tonnes on Tuesday, before a localised downpour of 20mm immediately over the Nhill township slowed things down from Wednesday afternoon.

He said he expected things to slow off prior to Christmas.

"We are hearing the odd farmer here and there has finished and we'll see quite a few people finishing in the next week," Mr Kent said

He said it was another good season for the Nhill district, in the west Wimmera.

"We've had a good run of years, going back to 18-19, where we were the biggest site in the GrainCorp network, last year, which passed our previous record and this year, where we might beat it again.

Similar to Murtoa, Nhill has taken over 140,000 tonnes of grain and is expected to crack the 200,000 tonne mark.

Further to the west, GrainCorp also expects its Lillimur site, west of Kaniva, to break records, while the Natimuk site, south-west of Horsham, will also go close.

Throughout the central Wimmera, cereal crops in excess of 5 tonnes a hectare are common, grading slightly lower to the north and higher in the southern Wimmera.

Quality has generally been good, with a wide spread of wheat segregations from hard to ASW opened, while barley has generally been either malt or top quality feed, with some downgraded from malt to feed for screenings or black tipping.

While GrainCorp and other bulk handlers are revelling in the big volumes it has also caused headaches.

Mr Kent and Mr Tepper reported relatively smooth turnarounds at their larger sites, but delivery times have slowed at some sites and segregations and even entire sites are filling quickly.

It has led to GrainCorp opening previously mothballed 'flex' sites in central Victoria and far southern NSW, with Tandarra, near Serpentine and Barnes Crossing, near Moama, both reopening.

New bunkers have been built at Murchison East, Elmore, Deniliquin, Dookie and Berrybank.



With the pressure on to free up more space, GrainCorp is well underway on its outloading program, sending grain both to port and to domestic end users and freeing up more space.

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

National Grains Industry Reporter

Gregor Heard is Fairfax Ag Media's national grains industry reporter, based in Horsham, Victoria. He has a wealth of knowledge surrounding the cropping sector through his ten years in the role. Prior to that he was with the Fairfax network as a reporter with Stock & Land. Some of the major issues he has reported on during his time with the company include the deregulation of the export wheat market, the introduction of genetically modified crops and the fight to protect growers better from grain trader insolvencies. Still involved with the family farm he is passionate about rural Australia and its people and hopes to use his role to act as an advocate for those involved in the grain sector. Away from work, he is a keen traveller, having spent his long service leave last year in Spain learning the language.

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