Controversial data deadline extended

Controversial data deadline extended

Grain
WAFarmers Grain Council president Duncan Young said he has received numerous calls from growers concerned about CBH's 50 cents a tonne discount for submitting cropping plans through Paddock Planner.

WAFarmers Grain Council president Duncan Young said he has received numerous calls from growers concerned about CBH's 50 cents a tonne discount for submitting cropping plans through Paddock Planner.

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CBH has announced it will extend the deadline for growers to submit their crop estimates through its online mapping tool, Paddock Planner.

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CBH has announced it will extend the deadline for growers to submit their crop estimates through its online mapping tool, Paddock Planner.

Last month CBH offered growers a discount of 50 cents a tonne on receival fees if they submitted their cropping plans through Paddock Planner by July 14.

On Friday, the co-operative announced it would extend that deadline until Thursday, August 1.

The extension comes after public criticism of the initiative, with some parts of the industry saying they don't believe that CBH should be offering a discount for information that some growers don't necessarily want to provide.

WAFarmers Grain Council president Duncan Young has led the criticism, saying he had received numerous calls from growers worried about the level of data required to be shared with CBH.

"The main sticking point we have identified is around submitting a spatial map of growers' properties," Mr Young said.

"Our proposal to CBH was very simple, park the spatial map to one side, that is the one thing that these growers have an issue with.

"The reasons around this are irrelevant, but some growers feel they own that data and they don't want to give it away.

"Every grower that has spoken to me with concerns have said they would be happy to provide that information if the maps weren't included.

"They want to give CBH the relevant information that will help it make decisions on segregations and to make informed decisions on what bins should be upgraded, but they have an issue with supplying the maps."

"Our proposal was simple, park the spatial map to one side and everything else in there is actually what you need to make decisions, the spatial map is not.

"CBH is not acting like a co-operative on this, you don't potentially alienate growers or penalise people who say 'I am happy to give you what you really need, I just don't want to give up this part'."

Mr Young said WAFarmers wasn't against the idea of providing information to CBH so it could make informed decisions.

"We would like to see CBH getting 85 or 95 per cent compliance and it can do that, if it takes the spatial map out of it," he said.

"We are not saying to growers don't do this, we are just saying there are growers out there who have concerns and these concerns are not being considered as real concerns."

Mr Young said growers should be given a choice.

"We are all about choice, give them the choice of including the map or not including the map and CBH will get more information," he said.

"We didn't walk into CBH's door saying we disagree with this, we went in with a realistic, easy option to fix the problem so they will get high compliance.

"We walked in with a solution and I am disheartened that our solution wasn't looked at."

CBH chairman Wally Newman said the reason CBH needed the data was due to increasing efficiencies and returning dollars to growers' pockets.

"Knowing that since the introduction of yield mapping around 2001 on harvesting machinery and that John Deere, Case and New Holland collect data to the square metre and use the information commercially, what is it that a few growers believe they have linked to the locations of their paddocks - not to the square metre as they already provide machinery manufactures for free - that is so precious and that they value that more than reducing their own CBH supply chain costs?" Mr Newman said.

"These same growers have trusted CBH since inception with all their Loadnet details to the last fraction of a tonne delivered and dollar to the last cent received, so the reason cannot be trust as no one has ever challenged CBH's integrity with all this sensitive data.

"It can only be resistance to change, which is why Paddock Planner is not forced on growers and rewards those growers who do provide information which reduces supply chain costs and increases efficiencies for all growers.

"The reason we need the data is we have taken the low hanging fruit, which is the $4 discount we took off storage and handling charges last year and now we are getting to the more difficult part of lowering charges and that involves getting more data so that CBH can make better decisions.

"So that when it comes to setting up for harvest it can know exactly where the grain is and where to put the segregations to store that grain, so we can get the segregations as close as possible to where the grain is actually produced.

"In the past we have carted grain backwards and it has cost the grower money and that ends up coming out of grower rebates because CBH is not operating efficiently.

"That reflects in our rebates so we are looking to put the maximum dollar into the growers' pocket and we need real-time information.

"The CDF app will link to the Paddock Planner and management will be able to see exactly what is happening so they can make sure they have the segregations ready to go, they are in place and the reason they need that information earlier is so they know roughly where the crop is and can start building segregations.

"A good example of this is barley in the Geraldton zone.

"Indications are there is a lot of barley on the back line there and once we know where it is we can work out which is going to be the most cost efficient to get that grain from paddock to the port and onto the ship."

CBH general manager operations Ben Macnamara said the process assisted the co-operative to offer the right segregations at the right sites.

"As an example, if you take Morawa it has two fixed storages and two open bulkheads and is serviced by three grids," Mr Macnamara said.

"At the moment it is basically a wheat-only site, from the additional information we have in Paddock Planner we can see there is a lot of barley being grown along the back line.

"Last year was the first year we provided a feed barley service and we did that at Perenjori.

"What this information is doing is helping us understand that perhaps we need a malt barley service on the back line, and then we start making choices, so the earlier we have this information the sooner we can make choices around how we actually put a barley service into that site or into Perenjori as well or otherwise.

"The visual aspect allows us to understand, in this example is whether it should go to Perenjori or to Morawa or to the extent you are on the west side of those sites can you go to Carnamah or Mingenew.

"Part of this information is being used to understand one, can we do it, in terms of do we have the site capacity to take the grain on board and two, if we don't we need that information as soon as possible so we can build emergency storage as we did at Perenjori last year."

In terms of claims that the data could be shared with other parts of the overall CBH business, Mr Newman said "there was a lot of hearsay and ifs and maybes but I have never seen any evidence to show that marketing has an advantage over any other marketer because the information that CBH gives out goes to all marketers".

"To think that we would favour our own marketing and trading arm over another one, it just doesn't exist," he said.

"When I go to the Australian Grains Industry Conference every year in Melbourne, we invite every marketer that is available to come over here and we can provide for them from the farmgate right to the ship and that is competition.

"That is what drives all the marketers and we actively engage and keep competition in the system, because it is about getting the very best price for our growers' commodities at the end of the day."

In regards to the extension of the deadline, Mr Newman said they had listened to the growers.

"There are a lot of things on at the moment, single touch payroll, the end of the financial year, BAS, urea spreading and we understand people are under the pump," he said.

"While we need that information as soon as possible, because if we have to build more storage we want to get that underway as soon as we can, we have decided to extend the deadline.

"And if anyone is having any trouble at all, all they have to do is contact anyone in CBH, their regional office, a business relationship manager or the grower service centre and they will be able to assist them.

"This system is a lot smarter than last year, the CDF app links into Paddock Planner and growers will reap the benefits at harvest time.

"If growers invest some time now, we would like to think it is going to hopefully reduce some of the travel time and turnaround times on sites."

Mr Young said they welcomed the extension of the deadline.

"I think this will give growers more time to think about the process and some thought they were being pressured so this extension has been welcomed," he said.

This story first appeared on Farm Weekly.

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