GRAINCORP has announced it plans to build an extra million tonnes of grain storage and re-open a number of mothballed storage sites to help it receive this year's expected bumper crop on the east coast.
Last year GrainCorp's network took approximately 16 million tonnes from growers last harvest (2020/21), eclipsing the company's previous best, set in 2016/17, of 15m tonnes.
Many analysts rate this year's crop a chance of exceeding last year's in size.
Although the clock is rapidly ticking before headers start to roll for the winter crop harvest in northern regions, GrainCorp is confident it will have the new storage ready in time.
The company is not able to provide exact details on where the storage will be installed as yet as it looks to finalise official planning and approval processes, but it said there would be a focus on NSW and Victoria in particular.
"We'll build extra storage across the central and northern regions of NSW and across the north-east region of Victoria," GrainCorp chief executive Robert Spurway said.
The decision to expand comes after last year's big receival numbers, where over 60 GrainCorp sites smashed their overall tonnage records.
Mr Spurway said the capital expenditure program would not just focus on the new capacity but also the maintenance plan to bring the disused sites back into full operation.
The list of which sites will be reopened has also yet to be released.
While GrainCorp embarked on a process of consolidation under its Project Regeneration strategy, closing and selling off a number of smaller sites it still has 170 sites on its books.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) estimates over 55m tonnes of grain was produced across Australia from the 2020/21 winter harvest, with just under 30m tonnes produced on the east coast.
GrainCorp is the major bulk handler of grain through Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
Mr Spurway said not only was the company busy building extra capacity, but he said it was working hard to ensure as much space was in its network come harvest time as possible.
"The company is working around the clock to move as much leftover grain from that intake as possible before the new season crop is ready," he said.
He said growers should not be concerned by apparently high levels of carry-over grain.
"Growers are driving past their local sites and noticing we're still carrying grain from last harvest, which is typical after a large production year," he said.
"Our supply chain is running full tilt with 3,000 truckloads and over 50 trains being loaded out of the network each week to move that grain.
"The new storage will take some pressure off these sites, and we will be operating a large fleet of trains over harvest to continue to make space as deliveries roll in."