PARKSIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA — The 2019-20 harvest is officially underway, with Viterra’s Port Pirie site receiving the first load for the network.

The first delivery of the season was a load of Spartacus barley from Mambray Creek grower Ben Bussenschutt.

“Spartacus grows quite quickly and we normally seed at Mambray Creek from mid-April to get some early rain before starting to seed at our Paskeville property,” Bussenschutt said.

Michael Hill, operations manager at Viterra, said the timing of the warmer weather in the upper Yorke Peninsula has helped finish off the crops earlier than other areas.

“Importantly, all of our sites across the network are well prepared and ready to go when growers across the state start harvesting,” Hill said. “In the lead up to harvest, we have been working closely with growers to understand their needs to ensure we’re providing a service to them that is both valuable and efficient.

“That includes making significant investments in our supply chain with around A$40 million directed each year to where we can provide the greatest value to growers during the harvest period.”

Hill said the business is continuously looking for ways to pass efficiencies back to growers.

“This harvest we have added barley dynamic binning following feedback from growers and the success of wheat dynamic binning last year, which delivered approximately A$6 million in value to growers,” Hill said. “Importantly, dynamic binning provides growers with the potential to access a higher grade for loads that are just outside of receival standards.”

Efficiency and sustainability remain the company’s top focus.

“We have also gained efficiencies in grain transportation and passed these on to growers through our Export Select rates, which at most of our major sites have decreased, or stayed the same compared to the 2018-19 rates,” Hill said. “Our main focus is to operate an efficient, cost effective and sustainable supply chain, and we will work with growers during the harvest to continue doing so.”