Stor­age op­tion to cut costs

Midwest Times - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Ison

A new project to max­imise prof­its of farm­ers is be­ing de­vel­oped and of­fers an al­ter­na­tive to tra­di­tional and un­sus­tain­able stor­age op­tions dom­i­nat­ing the mar­ket.

The Har­vest Op­ti­mi­sa­tion project was un­der­taken by Curtin Univer­sity’s Pro­fes­sor Ryan Lox­ton and his team in col­lab­o­ra­tion with WA com­pany Global Grain Han­dling So­lu­tions. The project pro­vides farm­ers with a low-cost and flex­i­ble al­ter­na­tive for on-farm grain stor­age — a seal­able tar­pau­lin te­pee, which can be hired and moved ev­ery sea­son.

Global Grain Han­dling So­lu­tions man­ag­ing direc­tor Luke Gam­ble said the te­pee of­fered the cheap­est flow path for crop, straight from farm to ship.

“This will of­fer a dif­fer­ent ser­vice model for grow­ers,” he said.

“It’s for farm­ers to look at tools to how they can do har­vest bet­ter.”

Mr Gam­ble de­scribed his prod­uct as a low-cost form of stor­ing grain, dif­fer­ent to the store grain bunkers, si­los and “sausage bags” cur­rently used across in­dus­try.

“In terms of the sausage bags, farm­ers burn them ev­ery year,” he said. “It’s not sus­tain­able. Our prod­uct is more ex­pen­sive than the bag, but over time it will be far more cost-ef­fec­tive be­cause farm­ers don’t have to dis­pose of it.”

The stor­age op­tion need only in­cur an in­fra­struc­ture fee, com­par­a­tively small to in­stalling a silo, and a ser­vice fee.

Dr Lox­ton and his team de­signed a soft­ware de­ci­sion-mak­ing tool to go with the prod­uct, al­low­ing grow­ers to read­ily ex­plore their har­vest op­tions and iden­tify the most prof­itable sce­nar­ios for their in­di­vid­ual farm. “We wanted to use these math­e­mat­i­cal skills to make changes and im­pact farm­ers di­rectly,” Dr Lox­ton said.

The soft­ware would al­low farm­ers to an­swer ques­tions like how many tonnes they could ex­pect to get un­der dif­fer­ent con­di­tions or sce­nar­ios and compare so­lu­tions for the best pos­si­ble out­come.

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