CBH Group confident of bumper wheat crop


AWB’s Ben Fargher.
AWB’s Ben Fargher.

THE CBH Group is gearing up for a bumper year with the current crop estimates sitting at 14-16 million tonnes.

CBH Group general manager of operations David Capper said the operations team are preparing the network to receive a large crop through improvements and refinements across the network.

“One of the great things about our Network Strategy is that it’s flexible, so we have the ability to respond to seasonal conditions as we roll it out,” Mr Capper said.

“By the time we reach harvest we will have already seen significant progress towards the network of the future.

“An extra open bulk head is being built at Wagin so there will be more storage available in time for harvest.

“Improved equipment at the site on existing storage will see quicker turnaround and throughput times.

“At the Dumbleyung site improved equipment on existing storage will improve turnaround times for growers, which makes them more profitable in the long term.

“It’s a great asset and having a feeder site for the Albany Port and increasing capacity in the Zone will make operations across the Zone more efficient.

“The aim of these projects is to build the network of the future through the CBH Network Strategy, but their benefits will be felt immediately,” he said.

AWB head of customers Ben Fargher has predicted a 7 per cent increase in 2016 winter crop production compared to last year, above average rainfall already experienced and a six-year low in wheat prices.

“ABARES is forecasting at least a 42.3 million tonnes winter crop (wheat, barley, canola, oats, chickpeas) for 2016-17, an increase of seven per cent on last year,” Mr Fargher said.

“We know this is a conservative estimate so it’s critical growers look to protect these larger yields from the risk of fire and hail, which are unfortunately both facts of life in rural Australia.’’

“Prices are likely to remain under pressure due to global and local oversupply, so it’s important growers insure every grain they produce to protect their yield in a low-margin crop year.”

Insurance played a critical role in recouping lost income for growers last season with record-high fire impacts on Australian crops.

“It was a tough year for many growers in 2015, particularly with devastating fire events in WA and SA,” Mr Fargher said.

“Some crops were completely wiped out. In these types of situations insurance is vital to get a business back on track for next season.”

“When insuring, reducing excess and post-harvest policies that insure your actual crop, not your estimated crop, are key features to look for to maximise protection.”

AWB is one of the only agribusinesses in Australia offering crop insurance, launching its flexible fire and hail crop insurance in 2015. The product was rolled out by its network of local representatives in key grain-growing regions around the country.

Mr Fargher believes shared risk between grower and seller is the way of the future for agriculture.

“We know what it means to be exposed to significant climatic and production risks,” Mr Fargher said.

Due to the current crop potential CBH has also planned to build 400,000 tonnes of emergency storage across the state, with the potential for additional emergency capacity to follow as and the harvest potential becomes clearer.

CBH has currently received 40 per cent of grower estimates, with an ideal target of at least 80 per cent.

“When we get clear information about what growers have planted it helps us prepare to receive that crop and get the best balance of services and segregations across sites,” said Mr Capper.

“If you don’t tell us what you’ve planted and how much, we can’t plan to give you the service that you need, so jump on Loadnet and fill out your estimates today,” he said.