As farmers are counting the cost of the recent wet weather, they can look forward to enjoying significant freight savings once GrainCorp opens its Cunningar facility later this month.
The company has started testing equipment and plans to officially open the site for operation on December 19.
“This is the next milestone for our facility in Cunningar,” GrainCorp’s regional manager for southern NSW Sarah Roche said.
Deliveries of canola have given GrainCorp a chance to test the system and the wheat bunker has also been opened for grain deliveries.
Hilltops Councillor and farmer Chris Manchester said the new facility would provide a major freight saving to growers.
Councillor Manchester said the projected started out under Harden Shire Council and included funding from the federal government, council, GrainCorp and others.
“We’re the closest growing area to Port Kembla,” Cr Manchester said.
“It’s about getting the trains turned around a lot quicker and getting grain off the road and onto rail.
“It’s a big bonus, not just for Harden growers but the whole region.
“It puts money back into the local community and as farmers make money, they spend it and it flows into the community.”
Cr Manchester said while recent rain had delayed harvest around the district and could potentially downgrade yields, several farmers had already started delivering grain.
“So far testing has been extremely successful with the mechanical and electrical systems operating as designed,” Ms Roche said.
“We have also been very happy with the initial speeds achieved.
“We successfully out-loaded our first test train last Tuesday morning which is a great achievement for the project team.
“The project started in mid-February this year so we have made fantastic progress to be at this stage as harvest activity is ramping up,” she said.