Kwinana set to reap rewards of record crop

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CBH project delivery general manager Andrew Porter, CBH area seven manager Paul Channon and Narrakine site manager David Gould.
Camera IconCBH project delivery general manager Andrew Porter, CBH area seven manager Paul Channon and Narrakine site manager David Gould. Credit: Cally Dupe

All eyes are on the Kwinana port zone this harvest as growers from Wubin to Narrakine reel in what CBH expects will be the area’s biggest-ever crop, driven by good seasonal conditions and large barley plantings.

By Tuesday, 15 sites within the zone had broken daily receival records and the zone’s total grain delivery had exceeded 5.6 million tonnes.

Almost 600,000 tonnes of grain, including 214,000 tonnes of wheat, was sitting at the Kwinana Grain Terminal last week awaiting shipment to international and domestic clients.

CBH estimates growers within the Kwinana port zone will shift a record crop tonnage by the end of harvest, breaking the 2016 record of 16.8 million tonnes.

Growers in the zone, which stretches from Wubin in the north, Narrakine in the south and Southern Cross in the east, are steaming along with harvest.

Most of the zone’s canola and barley crops have been delivered, with many growers now on to wheat.

Comparatively, a total 1.7 million tonnes had been delivered to CBH sites in the Esperance port zone by Friday, as well as 1.2 million tonnes across the Albany Port Zone, and 2.8 million tonnes across the Geraldton port zone.

Strange weather and a late start to harvest created an unprecedented situation for CBH this year, which has been forced to install its biggest-ever capacity of emergency storage.

The co-operative has installed 12 emergency storage units this year, most of which have been built in the Kwinana port zone.

More than 1.1 million tonnes of grain has been poured into the temporary soil bunkers and covered with tarpaulin for a low-cost, one year use solution.

It’s even more emergency storage than in 2016, when CBH built eight million tonnes of emergency storage to cope with the bulk of WA’s record-breaking tonne harvest.

CBH project delivery general manager Andrew Porter said the co-operative had spent more than $130 million ahead of harvest, which included building more than 650,000 tonnes of permanent storage. An additional 300,000 tonnes of permanent storage will be completed before the end of the year.

Kwinana port zone assistant manager Allan Walker said growers were feeling positive about about harvest despite crop damage caused by lightening fires near Goomalling and hail near Tammin. “It appears the damage was not widespread and will hopefully have no, or minimal impact on crop quality,” Mr Walker said.

CBH operations general manager David Capper said a record amount of grain would travel through the Kwinana port zone by rail this year.

“Roads and rail are struggling with capacity — the bottleneck in the supply chain is getting grain upcountry to port,” he said.

“There is simply not enough rail capacity and road capacity to bring the grain in.”

Mr Capper said the company had tried to shift grain early in the year to “make room”, because “more barley had meant more segregations” this year.

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