CBH Group General Manager of Operations David Capper said the operations team is preparing the network to receive a large crop through improvements and refinements across the network.
CBH created a network strategy that consists of A$750 million ($564 million) in maintenance and site enhancement programs for their sites.
“One of the great things about our network strategy is that it’s flexible, so we have the ability to respond to seasonal conditions as we roll it out,” said Capper. “By the time we reach harvest we will have already seen significant progress towards the network of the future.”
Maintenance and enhancements are being made at several CBH sites. A new bulk head is being built for more storage at the Wagin and Merredin sites. Improved equipment on existing storage will improve turnaround times for growers at the Dumbleyung site, CBH said. At Beacon a new sample hut and weigh bridge is being installed.
"In Albany we’re improving the process for transferring grain from the trains to the conveyor for loading ships; this is set to be installed during the September shutdown at Albany Port and will improve the service to growers and customers,” Capper said. “And just outside Albany, the Mirambeena site will be ready for harvest, despite heavy rain in the area slowing construction in recent months. The aim of these projects is to build the network of the future through the CBH Network Strategy, but their benefits will be felt immediately.”
Due to the current crop potential CBH has also planned to build 400,000 tonnes of emergency storage across the state, with the potential for additional emergency capacity to follow as the harvest potential becomes clearer.
“It’s important that growers and the market understand that there is still a long way to go yet,” Capper said. “The high yields being discussed are highly dependent on good spring rain and in some areas water logging means that a few weeks of dryer weather would be welcome. There are a number of other factors making planning for this year’s harvest more difficult than usual.”
“Currently the grain market is very soft, meaning it’s difficult to predict how much grain will ship between now and harvest and how much harvest shipping will occur,” Capper said. “Also the early estimates received from growers indicate a strong swing to coarse grains away from wheat which will have a significant impact on storage capacity.”
CBH has currently received 40% of grower estimates, with an ideal target of at least 80%.
“When we get clear information about what growers have planted it helps us prepare to receive that crop and get the best balance of services and segregations across sites,” Capper said.