GrainCorp harvest approaches

By Jamie Salter

Harvest season is just around the corner and Numurkah’s GrainCorp Oilseeds is preparing to expand its processing capabilities.

GrainCorp Oilseeds’ manufacturing general manager Troy Knox said the plant was undergoing changes to be able to crush more canola post-harvest in October.

“We plan to crush 1150 tonne of seed a day,” Mr Knox said.

“That translates into oil and canola meal, which is used as an ingredient to create stock feed and as a supplement for dairy farms.

“We have the capacity to process those oils and to make blends that can be used for foods.”

Products from the Numurkah plant are either exported or transported to its sister factory in Footscray, which further processes the oil for bottling or to make butter blends such as margarine.

Other uses for the oil range from the manufacture of infant formula to herbicides.

“We're the largest oilseed crushing facility in Australasia, and a recent investment of $100 million in the last five years has created a world-class facility,” Mr Knox said.

Since its completion in December 2018, a $50 million plant expansion has allowed the site to run at 1000 tonnes per day.

Eight new roles have recently been filled to support the operating plant, including engineers, laboratory staff and loading operators.

Mr Knox said the company had put plans in place to manage the coronavirus situation during the harvest period.

“We’ve seen an increase in demand, mainly because our big customers have wanted to increase supply,” he said.

Mr Knox said most of the canola that went to the Numurkah facility would be drawn from a 130 km radius, but there was also a fair bit of canola in the Wimmera-Mallee region that would not be subject to border closures.

“Because we’ve had such a good season, there’s going to be an above average canola crop.

“We're a prominent part of the region and we recognise the importance of agriculture and our part to play in the supply chain.

“We create a lot of employment through suppliers and will continue to provide opportunities for local businesses.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Victoria's canola production for 2019-20 is estimated to be 650,000 tonnes, compared to 511,000 the previous year.