'Doubling' of grains storage a big win for south-west Victorian growers

Doubling of grains storage at GrainCorp Berrybank a win for south-west Victorian growers

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IN FOCUS: Vite Vite and Skipton grain grower Anthony Mulcahy. Photo by Rob Gunstone.

IN FOCUS: Vite Vite and Skipton grain grower Anthony Mulcahy. Photo by Rob Gunstone.

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'It has been a frustration for many years now'

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Farmers have praised a south-west council's decision to give the green light to upgrades that will see a massive overhaul to grains storage in the region.

Corangamite Shire councillors passed a planning permit from GrainCorp to expand and upgrade an existing grain storage facility at 3580 Foxhow-Berrybank Road, Berrybank.

The works will include five new grain storage bunkers for wheat and barley, a new weigh bridge and truck entrance via the Hamilton Highway.

MAP: The GrainCorp Berrybank site.

MAP: The GrainCorp Berrybank site.

Vite Vite and Skipton grain grower Anthony Mulcahy said he'd been advocating for the works for "years".

"The region has gone from farms that mostly had stock to mostly crop, incidentally the land use has changed production to about four tonne per hectare of grain," he said.

"No doubt the shire roads are feeling the strain of this large increase and for many years the Berrybank site has maxed out resulting in growers travelling further to store at other sites, increasing the freight cost to farmers and impacting roads.

"In my case I often have to travel more than 70 kilometres to Westmere on the Glenelg Highway, carting it further away and paying more to get it back to the port for export.

"Many growers have similar stories and it has been a frustration for many years now.

"We need a regional centre that serves the needs of growers."

LOOKING BACK: Greg Tait pictured in 2011 at the Berrybank GrainCorp centre, supervising unloading of canola.

LOOKING BACK: Greg Tait pictured in 2011 at the Berrybank GrainCorp centre, supervising unloading of canola.

The development will provide an additional 66,000 tonnes of storage, taking the site's capacity up to 129,000 tonnes.

The development will increase truck volumes to an average of 4000 trucks per harvest, up from 2100.

A daily increase from 100 to 120 trucks per day is expected at peak harvest.

Six submissions were received to the project, three for and three against.

Some of the concerns related to traffic impacts, closure of the existing Foxhow-Berrybank Road access, visual impacts and hours of operation.

Mayor Neil Trotter said the overhaul would fix the current congestion at Foxhow-Berrybank Road, where trucks usually queue in peak harvest season to access the site.

"Instead all the trucks will be coming off the Hamilton Highway and queue within the site and not on the road," he said.

"The capacity of the site will almost double and will mean farmers will get the premium price and won't lose value by transporting it longer distances."

The site is around 22 hectares and is located directly adjacent to the Berrybank township. It also adjoins the Berrybank Wind Farm site.

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