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Brakes stall grain sell-off

ONLY 25 of the 100 sites GrainCorp had listed as being excess to its future operations have been sold or licensed.

The company called for expressions of interest in May, with a closing date of June 30, but the clearance rate has been slower than expected, which director, government and media relations, Angus Trigg puts down to seasonal conditions.

“Interest has been constrained by this year’s harvest, certainly around production, because there was a tight finish in a lot of areas,” he said.

“So that probably put a brake on the interest of some parties, such as groups of growers looking for additional storage options or stockfeed operators.

“But there is a possibility we will still be talking to people after the harvest.”

Mr Trigg said that 90per cent of all grain delivered to the company’s sites came from the 180 it would retain.

“We are going to be investing $200million into the network so it makes sense to be investing that money on the key sites we are using.

“The investment will go a lot further if it is done in that way.”

The company says about 180 sites will be grouped into 34 geographical clusters, reducing management duplication and giving greater local autonomy.

Export and domestic grain will be able to be purchased from all sites but will be executed from the most suitable site.

Primary sites will be export-focused, major sites domestic focused, and Flex sites will provide extra capacity when needed.

Mr Trigg said although harvest was well under way in the southern Riverina, activity had slowed early this week due to showers.

“Yields look to be good, which is great for local growers as the overall eastern Australian harvest is below average size and particularly regions further north in the grain belt are very dry,” Mr Trigg said.

“Canola is largely complete, barley about two-thirds through and wheat is just starting; quality looks good.

“GrainCorp is very happy because we’ve been able to concentrate more mobile receival equipment in the area due to the good-sized crop in the region. This has meant smooth turnaround of grain deliveries.

“We’ve had seven sets of bunker gear at our Oaklands site alone.”

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