WA wheat on Golden voyage

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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CBH's first shipment to the Golden Grand Flour mill in West Java, Indonesia, has departed from Geraldton with about 53,000 tonnes of current season H2, H1 and APW wheat on board.

The ship will call into the Kwinana port for a top-up of about 12-15,000 tonnes of wheat before heading on its journey to the Indonesian mill, with some drop-offs also planned for Interflour mills in Malaysia and Vietnam.

The move follows Interflour's purchase of the Golden Grand Flour Mill in Indonesia. CBH half-owns Interflour.

The ship, named MV Yong Tai, is also likely to be the largest vessel to take wheat from WA to the Interflour mills.

CBH chairman Wally Newman said the acquisition of Golden Grand flour mill moved Interflour another step towards achieving its goal of milling 10,000 tonnes daily by 2018.

"Interflour has been growing its milling capacity year-on-year and growers have seen the benefit of this growth through the investment rebate which returned $0.90 per tonne last year and $0.40 per tonne for the 2014-15 year," he said.

"This newly acquired mill is strategically located to provide freight advantages with Interflour's other mills in Malaysia and Vietnam."

The acquisition of the Golden Grand mill brings the total number of mills that Interflour owns to eight.

"WA growers and their co-operative are in a great position now, owning more of the supply chain is not only benefitting them through rebated profits but their investment in Interflour is growing in capability and reach," he said.

The purchase was self-funded, meaning no additional equity was provided by CBH.

CBH Geraldton Port Zone manager Duncan Gray said the Geraldton and Esperance port zones sent a lot of grain to Interflour and he was hopeful that would continue, given these zones produced the quality of grain sought.

The ship departed Australian shores just as harvest in the Geraldton port zone was drawing to a close.

Mr Gray said most of the area's crop had now been delivered to CBH bins in the Geraldton port zone.

"It's been a very stop-start harvest for the Geraldton port zone due to weather causing farmers to park up their headers," he said.

"In addition to rain, there's been cold mornings and overcast days. "It was one of the earliest starts on record - September 16 - but one of the longest harvests on record too."

The harvest comes after a tough growing year because of a lack of rain and a hot August drying out crops.

Mr Gray said because of bad weather during the growing season, crop yields in the Geraldton port zone were down by about 30 per cent on CBH's initial forecasts.

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