The first load for the 2017-18 season was a load of barley into Port Pirie by a Mambray Creek grower.
Michael Hill, Group Operations manager, said the company had been working closely with growers in the lead up to harvest to ensure sites can meet their needs this year.
“We are well-prepared for harvest with the arrival of yesterday’s first load, which is two weeks earlier than last year,” Hill said. “We are employing 1,300 additional people for the harvest period, mostly in regional areas, to ensure we can provide growers, exporters and domestic customers with a high level of service.”
Viterra is continually focusing on flexibility for receiving and export grain.
“Our network has the flexibility to receive the large range of commodities and grades produced each year,” Hill said. “Our many segregations and new declaration process will help meet the quality requirements of customers in over 25 different destination markets.”
While receiving the grain at harvest is critically important for Viterra, Hill said efficiently exporting the grain was equally as important.
“About 5.5 million tonnes of export capacity has already been booked for 2017-18 by 13 different exporters, providing a hugely competitive environment for growers delivering into the Viterra system,” Hill said. “We continually promote the benefits of sourcing grain from South Australia to international end-use customers on behalf of growers.”
Viterra’s ongoing investment in the supply chain has helped keep Export Select freight rate rises to a minimum this year. Export Select is a logistics package for marketers which ensures timely and efficient movement of grain from upcountry sites to port for shipping.
“We continue to look for opportunities to improve efficiencies in the supply chain while managing other pressures such as rising fuel costs which affect our logistics services,” Hill said. “Significant efficiency gains have been achieved in the eastern Eyre Peninsula and around Loxton and Pinnaroo, which have been reflected in lower freight rates for those areas. For example, efficiencies have been achieved from the upgrade of the Lincoln Highway / Balumbah-Kinnard Road junction – spanning about 40 kilometers from Rudall to Port Neill.”
“We understand keeping freight rates as low as possible helps South Australian grain be competitive globally,” Hill said.