PARKSIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA —Viterra Australia’s Gladstone site has kicked off the 2019-20 season with a A$4 million upgrade.

A new classification center, automatic grain probes, fully automated 40-meter weighbridge and shed resealing has been unveiled to growers and the local community.

Jack Tansley, Viterra Operations manager, Central region, said the new automated grain probes and classification center is the first of its kind in the region but follows the success of a similar upgrade at Tumby Bay.

“The new equipment will improve efficiency, safety and service to grower customers,” Tansley said. “The automatic probes run the length of the truck on overhead tracks and will be controlled by an employee with a joystick inside the classification office. Visual inspection of the truck is via video cameras on the probes.”

“We’ve been able to improve safety and efficiency by having the classification office on the ground rather than having stairs – as employees no longer need to probe from a height,” Tansley said. “It has been a major project which we have managed in a way to use as many local and South Australian contractors as possible.”

The new classification center will be named in memory of Michael Butterick and the other existing center will honor Geoff Millard – two previous Strategic Silo Committee Chairs and local growers.

Butterick and Millard served on the committees for a number of years and played a role in working with the business on behalf of growers in the community.

Tansley said Viterra is committed to making significant investments in its supply chain each year, with more than A$140 million spent since 2010 in the Central region alone to improve services to grower and buyer customers.

“New front-end loaders, weighbridges, drive over hopper and stacker sets, as well as additional storage have been rolled out in the region in recent years,” Tansley said. “This harvest, we are increasing bunker storage to manage overflow at Roseworthy and Snowtown with an additional 50,000 tonnes of storage apiece.”

Viterra Operations Manager Michael Hill said the investments are part of Viterra’s ongoing focus to provide a valuable and efficient service to its customers.

“We are investing in the areas where it can have the greatest impact for growers. This includes capital expenditure to improve efficiency but also our quality management and food safety to ensure we continue to maintain market access for South Australian growers’ grain,” Hill said. “Market access is more important than ever, and quality and food safety is paramount. To continue meeting end use and importing country requirements, we have invested in new chemical residue equipment to sit within our A$3 million purpose-built laboratory.

“Viterra is taking a long-term approach to providing an efficient, sustainable and valuable supply chain, and is continuing to work closely with grower and buyer customers to achieve this.”