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SA’s large lentil crop on the move

21 April 2017

news item

Viterra’s bulk export program is helping to move South Australia’s largest ever lentil crop, as the state takes the mantle as the biggest lentil producer in the country.

Lentils and other pulses are mostly exported in containers, however Viterra shipped three bulk vessels in March alone to help move the record crop.

Michael Hill, Viterra’s Group Operations Manager, said strong demand for lentils led to an increase in plantings last harvest.

“South Australian growers produced 448,000 tonnes of lentils for the 2016-17 harvest worth an estimated $260 million at the farm gate, according to PIRSA’s latest crop report,” Michael said.

“Our focus is now on moving this record crop. Viterra shipped a mammoth 50,000 tonnes of lentils in March, more than double the previous highest month in June 2007.

“Where feasible, bulk exports help maximise value for growers and allow larger tonnages to reach the import country in tighter timeframes.

“We also have a solid container packing program which complements bulk shipments, as it provides buyers with the flexibility to choose smaller parcels.”

The three March shipments were sourced from growers across the state and loaded at Port Giles and Inner Harbour by three different marketers.

Glencore Grain exported a 26,000 tonne bulk shipment from Port Giles, headed to Turkey.

Mostyn Gregg, Glencore Grain Pulse Trader, said it was the first time the company had shipped lentils to Turkey, which normally sourced most of its lentils from Canada.

“Canada has a competitive advantage over Australia with price and the timing of their harvest, but we’re working hard to access these markets for our grower customers and increase market share,” Mostyn said.

“For this cargo, we were able to discharge the lentils directly into our own storage in Turkey and then sell direct to Turkish customers which really maximises the value for the grower.

“This vessel delivered more lentils to Turkey in one go than we’ve exported in total over the past five years through containers.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with growers to maximise their harvest while meeting the demand from end-users.”