Grain growers considering an investment in on-farm storage options should establish clear goals, consider future needs and plan with potential expansion in mind so as to maximise value, says a new Nuffield report released by 2015 scholar Andrew Freeth.
Mr Freeth works on his family’s 5500ha dryland broadacre cropping and livestock enterprise near Gilgandra in NSW, and has spent the past two years studying effective on-farm grains storage and supply chain logistics from around the world.
Funded by Grains Research and Development Corporation, Mr Freeth’s report has unveiled a suite of recommendations for moving grain to market in an efficient, cost-effective manner, while considering future trends affecting the industry.
Mr Freeth said growers had seen unprecedented structural change during the past 25 years, including the need to increase storage capacity on-farm and improve sophistication of existing infrastructure.
‘‘The competitiveness of Australian grain growers relies on an efficient supply chain into domestic and export markets,’’ Mr Freeth said.
‘‘But in order to capitalise on these opportunities, growers are looking at newer, more innovative ways to reduce their supply chain costs and boost their profitability.
‘‘One of these is investing in on-farm storage, a growing trend being driven by harvest logistics and capacities, upcountry grain storage networks, increasing production of pulse and specialty crops, amongst a range of other industry and government incentives.’’
More broadly, Mr Freeth said government needed to provide the right policy settings to meet the needs of a modern grains industry, its consumers and the companies that operate within the supply chain.
‘‘A modern and cost-effective freight network will be a game-changer for Australian agriculture,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s anticipated the Inland Rail will accelerate the rationalisation of the upcountry storage network, so as to reduce transportation costs and improve profitability of supply chain operators.
‘‘Further to this, new partnerships between grain growers, trading businesses and supply chain operators will be critical to ensure productivity improvements from mainline operations follow through to higher prices at farm-gate.’’