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GRAINCORP will have to move about a million tonnes of grain a month from its storages to make room for next season’s harvest.
With receivals of 12.9 million tonnes in 2016-17 from Victoria, NSW and Queensland and only 2.2 million tonnes loaded on to export vessels during the first five months of the season, pressure is likely to remain on the company to maintain a steady flow of grain to its port terminals before the new harvest begins in October.
Victorian growers face another good crop this year if good rain falls in April and May and through winter.
An Agriculture Victoria project indicates farmers may have good subsoil moisture in reserve to help carry crops through to this coming harvest if a dry spring eventuates.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences has estimated the 2016-17 winter crop across Victoria, NSW and Queensland at 27.1 million tonnes, meaning GrainCorp has received just under half the record east coast harvest.
The domestic market is estimated to take about 10 million tonnes of grain, including a smaller-than-normal sorghum crop. Most of the grain destined for domestic markets is stored on farm.
GrainCorp spokesman Angus Trigg said there were large levels of grain in farm storages and market forces would determine how much of that came back into the grain handler’s network.
With potential for another good crop next harvest and V/Line heat restrictions limiting movement of grain by rail during warm months, GrainCorp has a big job to make space in storages by October.
Mr Trigg said there was plenty of capacity at the ports.
“Normally, the ports only run at one third capacity, but this year will be higher,” he said. “The pinch point is getting grain to the ports.
“Export grain is flowing rapidly out of our network ... last month alone 400,000 tonnes was exported from Geelong terminal, a record amount.
“We are confident that we will have capacity to handle the next harvest there is good and demonstrated the ability to flex up this harvest, after a couple of smaller crops.”
This article first appeared on www.weeklytimesnow.com.au
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