GrainCorp has ticked off on boosting its capacity at Berrybank, Victoria with a $3.5 million site expansion in time for this year's winter crop harvest.
The grain handler is preparing to add three new grain bunkers, a weighbridge and new truck entrance as part of major works, which last week received planning approval last week from Corangamite Shire Council.
The works will increase the site's capacity from 70,000 tonnes to 130,000 tonnes of bunker storage, in time for this year's harvest.
"Increasing our bunker storage and segregation capacities will allow growers to deliver their barley and red wheat alongside white wheat and canola, so they will no longer bear the costs of transporting those commodities to other sites further away," GrainCorp chief executive Robert Spurway said.
"This project is reflective of direct feedback from our grower customers, who have told us that segregations and turnaround times are critical pain points for their businesses.
"The expansion also gives us a greater opportunity to support our communities by employing local people over the harvest period and permanently throughout the year."
The plans will see construction begin soon on new bunker pads and drainage works to expand the storage facilities.
Growers and truck drivers will also benefit from a new entrance away from the Hamilton Highway and a relocation of infrastructure further away from neighbouring houses.
"GrainCorp is absolutely committed to improving environmental outcomes alongside our efficiencies, so we're moving the site entrance to reduce the number of trucks passing through the town," Operations general manager Nigel Lotz said.
"We're also moving the sample stand and weighbridges over to the east, in order to move truck traffic further away from residences."
The announcement comes at the same time as GrainCorp's harvest recruitment program opening with 3000 roles available, over 900 of which will be working in Victoria.
Corangamite mayor Councillor Neil Trotter said the expansion was probabably indicative of what whas happening, with cropping expansion, in the area.
"It's the changing face of agriculture, in the area, with cropping becoming a more lucrative source of income," Cr Trotter said.
:"It was previously nearly all grazing, beef or sheep, and there were quite a lot of wool producers.
"There still are but cropping has become more important."
The shire meeting where the expansion approval was granted was addressed by three local growers.
"They outlined what it means to them," Cr Trotter said.
"The primary issue was a cost saving, they are not paying for extra transport."
He said the changed access to the site would also mean queuing, outside Berrybank, would now be avoided.
"All trucks will be able to be accomodated, on site."
Cr Trotter said Corangamite would also be looking at upgrading roads, to take more High Productivity Vehicles.
"We are getting pressure to improve these roads because of grain transport."
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