Job well-done for 2020, now it's on to planning for 2021 and moving grain that's in storage

Consider logistics of shifting grain and planting new crops

Grains
Grain storages that were empty across the east coast at the start of 2020 are now brimming with stocks.

Grain storages that were empty across the east coast at the start of 2020 are now brimming with stocks.

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The 2020-21 harvest has been littered with delays due to rain events and fire ban days. But, just prior to Christmas, bulk handlers were reporting the largest...

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The 2020-21 harvest has been littered with delays due to rain events and fire ban days.

But, just prior to Christmas, bulk handlers were reporting the largest ever receivals through their storages and - with some New South Wales farmers in the southern regions still expected to be harvesting into the early parts of 2021 - the numbers will only get bigger.

While deliveries continued right through the Christmas period, there is finally an end in sight after a fantastic production year for nearly all cropping communities in NSW.

The big task at hand now is to move all this stored grain before the next harvest comes online - and what a mammoth task it will be.

If you think back to the start of 2020, grain storages across the east coast were empty due to a three-year drought.

In one season, they have all been filled to the brim.

If you add all the grain in the central storage network to grain stored in silos, sheds, and down every rabbit hole farmers could find, the task of moving it all is significant when considering the timeline.

Harvest starts again in nine months for Queensland and in 10 months for most other states.

So, what happens if we have grain production as big as - or bigger than - 2020?

Inevitably, we will have to store some grain produced through to the next marketing year.

This means less space available for deliveries this year.

These are the questions we need to think about as we navigate through the many different challenges we face in 2021.

The first task at hand for many NSW farmers is executing their grain stocks on-farm that are not in permanent storage - such as those in silo bags or sheds.

For most, this sales plan will have started in earnest last year, so as not to be at the mercy of the volume of sales expected in the first quarter of 2021.

Then the planting window for new winter crops starts for many through the March-May period, and we must decide what rotational crops are going to be planted this year.

This will be dependent on paddock history, rainfall received and the pricing outlook.

Many farmers will have already decided rotations, with only few paddock changes required.

Thirdly, those looking to move their on-farm production over these few months will need to juggle this around getting the crop in the ground.

Another question to consider is how many staff will be required to plant the crop (on time), and outload grain from bags, sheds or silos as your marketing plan dictates.

When you have your crop planted, it then needs to be sprayed and fertilised.

Can this all occur at the same time that you have got to move your sold grain as well?

Farmers have always been good at juggling - they have done it for years.

But 2020 has seen an immense amount of grain produced and, with so many unforeseeable hurdles, now - more than ever - having a plan and executing it should set a good base for success.

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