Record year as grain keeps delivering

GRAIN buyer XLD Commodities, which has silo storage at Powranna in the Northern Midlands, has doubled its handling of the harvest since it took over the site in summer last year.

XLD Commodities managing director Paul Willows said he is excited about this year’s harvest, which runs from December to the end of March, and is expecting to collect about more than 40,000 tonnes all up.

Already they have collected 10,000 tonnes of wheat, 6000 tonnes of canola and 4000 tonnes of barley.

With at least another 20,000 tonnes to collect.

“Before last year the biggest harvest year was 20,000 tonnes for the season,” Mr Willows said.
“It will be a record crop for canola. Last year only 3000 tonnes came in, but this year we have already taken 6000 tonnes of canola and I reckon we get another 1500 to 2000 tonnes.”

XLD Commodities, which is a Tasmanian company has three shareholders: Mr Willows, who has extensive overseas experience working in the grain industry, Lachie Stevens and Randall Trethewie.

The company has about 100 growers on its list.

“It’s the usual 20-80 rule, where 20 per cent of the growers produce about 80 per cent of the harvest. With the cutback in poppy planting we are seeing a shift into other crops,” Mr Willows said.
“It’s an exciting time for the industry. We want to promote the industry, educate growers in the value of the crops.
“By providing transparency to the industry, growers can get a price and deliver their grain. China is in net deficit of protein yet still impacts global prices because of the volumes it needs.
“With canola we export half of the crop we handle to the mainland, which is then loaded on to a boat in Geelong destined for Bangladesh where it’s crushed into vegetable oil.”

They use a large quantity of vegetable oil. The other half stays here for local crush into oil.”

The Tasmanian company employs about 30 local harvest casuals.

“They are quite often university students or locals who have left school but working here gives them a chance to think about a career in agriculture where there are many opportunities.”

Working at the weigh bridge and conducting a series of tests on the incoming grain are Daisy Willows, from Evandale and Maddy Taylor, from Campbell Town.

“We test the grain and put it through a range of tests to determine what silos it goes into and give feedback to the grower, for example they may need to adjust the harvester,” Daisy said.
“I really enjoy working here and learning new skills.”

XLD Commodities runs three sites, a bunker site near the silos at Powranna holds feed barley, while the silos holds the canola for export and part for local crushing into canola oil.At a site near the silos XLD Commodities has a growing pile of feed barley.

Grain merchant Ben Seamer, whose family has a cropping farm in NSW, said they expected to have 15,000 tonnes here by the end of the season at the end of March.

“It’s the first bunker style storage of grain in Tasmania. The big advantage is we can store a lot of grain quickly,” Mr Seamer said.

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