In what he sees as another blow to struggling Mid North farmers, Member for Frome Geoff Brock has shared his disappointment at the planned closure of silo sites within his electorate and has asked for the decision to be overturned.
“I have written to Viterra’s general manager Tim Krause outlining my concerns regarding the closure of the Redhill and Brinkworth silos, which will not be opening for the 2019/20 harvest and which will not play a future role in the Viterra network,” Mr Brock said.
Although Viterra have announced no changes to the overall storage capacity and segregations for major crops, they have advised growers who have traditionally delivered to Brinkworth and Redhill of their options, which will include further distance travelled to deliver their grain.
“Our farmers our struggling as they cope with the effects of drought, and this closure decision will further impact on their wellbeing now and into the future,” Mr Brock said.
Mr Brock has asked Viterra to allow time for consultation with affected farmers and allow these two silos to remain open for the coming harvest.
Viterra plans to open 67 sites across South Australia and Western Victoria for the coming harvest and said the changes to their site footprint reflected the changing delivery patterns of growers and the changing environment.
“Viterra say they will provide the highest level of service to growers through their decision, but I am disappointed in the reduction of regional services which will seriously affect local farmers who have relied on Viterra being available to unload grain at Brinkworth and Redhill in the past,” Mr Brock said.
“Viterra’s decision will add additional costs due to extra transportation distance and, in some cases, will involve using private freight operations.”
Mr Brock said he understood Viterra closed up to 17 sites permanently across South Australia last year and has asked Viterra what their future plans are in relation to maintaining or closing other sites across the State in coming harvest seasons.