The Grain Harvest Management Scheme (GHMS) saved more than 12,000 grain haulage truck trips in the last financial year, taking a load off country roads and improving grain delivery.
Councils have backed the scheme which allows eligible harvest vehicles and combinations to exceed the regulated total mass limits and axle/axle group mass limits by up to five per cent when delivering certain grains to participating grain receivers.
The GHMS report has also highlighted where grain is travelling in the state with the Riverina now the biggest area for receivals.
Some of the highlights of the 2016-2017 report obtained by The Land includes:
- About 12,638 one way trips were saved during the 2016-17 harvest periods under the scheme.
- 47 participating councils and 22 participating grain receivers across 133 grain receival sites.
- Over 274,000 deliveries were made under the scheme.
- Large reduction in breaches.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said the GHMS was designed to minimise heavy vehicle movements, protect roads and to increase the productivity and efficiency of the grain industry.
“It is predicted that by 2031 freight volumes in NSW will double to 794 million tonnes, which is why initiatives like the NSW GHMS is important because it promotes the safe and productive movement of grain across our regions.” Mrs Pavey said.
“Growing year in and year out, the scheme not only benefits the producers through reduced transport costs and significant productivity benefits, but it also delivers significant benefits to the local councils by reducing the total number of heavy vehicle movements along their road network.
“Last season 12,638 trips were saved because of the scheme, which was important given the bumper crop we had across the state, allowing the additional quantity of grain to reach its final destination efficiently. This scheme can only continue to grow as our producers continue to benefit from it.”
Croppa Creek farmer Rowen Tighe, “Bonnie Downs”, said his family stored most of their harvest on farm for sale later on but believed the scheme was benefitting local roads through reduced trips.
Mr Tighe felt there needed to be better information on exactly when and how deliveries could be made under the scheme.
Moree Mayor Katrina Humphries is a big supporter of the Grain Harvest Management Scheme, which she says gives farmers the leeway they need to deliver their grain on time and without penalty to receival centres.
But Ms Humphries says with 2000km of gravel roads, the area often called the Golden Triangle, because of its high quality wheat production, needs a huge boost to road funding to maintain competitiveness. And especially with Moree set to become a major inland rail hub. There was at least $40m of road upgrades needed, she said.
“We have supported the scheme and signed up for it for the next three years. What we have found is that it gives farmers that little bit of leeway so they can get their harvest in without worry.
“Sadly because our last harvest was not that good we could not really see how beneficial the scheme was. But what is clear is that we need more road funding. I’d say there is at least a $40m shortfall with road upgrades. We have more than 2000km of gravel roads in the area even though we’re the biggest agricultural producer by value in Australia.”
She said the council wanted more consistent data on the GHMS scheme.
Cabonne Mayor Kevin Beatty said his council was pleased to participate in the NSW Grain Harvest Management Scheme.
“Any initiative to promote safe and productive movement of grain is very welcome, particularly when it results in fewer truck movements on our roads. This not only lowers the impact on the road pavement, but fewer truck movements reduces the risk for other road users and increases efficiencies for grain growers in our Shire.
Cabonne Council recently undertook about $4.2m worth of upgrades to two important B-Double routes.