A NEW daily record intake for major eastern states bulk handler GrainCorp was set on Wednesday at 362,000 tonnes.
Deliveries into New South Wales storages formed the bulk of the figure, which breaks the previous daily record of 355,000t set in the 2016-17 harvest.
GrainCorp general manager operations Nigel Lotz said further daily records could well be set, and breaking the 400,000t was a possibility as yields in NSW crops continue to exceed expectations as harvest rolls south.
Public storages in northern and central NSW owned by GrainCorp and others are receiving huge quantities of grain from the current harvest.
Ahead of the NSW bulk-export program kicking off out of Newcastle this week, some sites including GrainCorp Coonamble and Walgett are full and closed temporarily.
Like all sites west of the Newell Highway, they rely on rail to get bulk grain to either Newcastle or Port Kembla.
“You’ve got trains to cycle out to make more room so you can utilise more than 100 per cent of the storage capacity at sites,” Mr Lotz said.
An ARTC maintenance shutdown on the line to Newcastle has slowed rail outturn this week, but the line is due to reopen today, and will enable some sites to reopen to harvest deliveries.
Mr Lotz said additional capacity was now being prepared at Coonamble to enable it to keep receiving grain.
“We’re putting in temporary storage at Coonamble by scraping up two more bunkers.”
More bunkers are also being put in at Cryon east of Walgett, Nevertire and Gilgandra north of Dubbo, Spring Ridge on the Liverpool Plains, Condobolin west of Parkes, and Ardlethan in the Riverina.
Mr Lotz said flex sites, which GrainCorp has retained to use in bumper seasons like this one, have also come into play.
They include Combara south of Coonamble, and Yethera south-west of Dubbo.
“We’ve got our core sites and our road-rail sites and our flex sites, which we won’t sell; we need them in years like this.”
GrainCorp sites are working extended hours to enable grain to be delivered and outturned to suit grower and customer needs, and Mr Lotz said the company’s staff has been working well to manage fatigue throughout long days and sometimes nights.
“Our teams have been really stretched, and they’ve done a tremendous job.
“They’re all working together to get things done.”
Victorian task ahead
Harvest in Victoria is yet to hit its straps and, like NSW, it is on track to produce above-average yields.
To assist with handling big receivals, and outturning by road to its Victorian terminals at Geelong and Portland, GrainCorp will be using its augmented capacity at Berrybank in the state’s south west for the first time.
“It’s a big red wheat area down there, and Berrybank will help with accumulation by road into Portland or Geelong, and we’ve also got the Corio Bay bunker sites.
“Geelong can get overloaded, so it’s a mid-point back-up for us.”
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