ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA — Viterra said on Oct. 11 that it is adding 40,000 tonnes of additional bunker storage at Witera, Australia and is confident that its storage and handling network across the South Australian state has the capacity to take in this year’s crop.

Viterra has less than 2 million tonnes carry-over in the system, following a record export shipping program in the past 12 months.

Dean McQueen, executive manager grain, said the company had been consulting with Silo Committee Chairs and local growers to finalize harvest preparations, including storage capacity and segregation planning.

“We are investing approximately A$800,000 to construct two additional 20,000 tonne bunkers at Witera, a strategic site on the Western Eyre Peninsula,” McQueen said. “These additional bunkers will create greater capacity at Witera and improve turnaround times. Following consultation with the Silo Committee Chair and local growers in the region, work commenced late last week to have the bunkers ready by mid-November.

“We have also been clearing grain out of strategic sites across the network, such as Lameroo. This grain is being moved either to port for shipping or to alternative sites for consolidation, to ensure there is capacity for receivals.”

Viterra has also purchased four new drive-over-hoppers/stackers as part of the company’s final preparations for harvest.

McQueen said the investment in equipment was part of the company’s five-year capital expenditure plan, developed in response to the Post Harvest Review.

“Drive over hoppers/stackers are critical machinery used for moving grain from trucks into bunkers and these new units have 600 tonnes per hour capacity,” McQueen said. “This investment of approximately A$1.8 million will improve elevation capacity and turnaround times at the receival sites where they are located.”

The new machinery will be deployed to sites in November.

“In addition to purchasing new machinery, we are upgrading the hydraulic units on 60 stackers across the state to optimize elevation capacity,” McQueen said.

These recent investments in storage and equipment add to the A$45 million Viterra has invested in storage, transport, logistics, people and port terminal infrastructure since 2009.