Grain growers' pleas to retain Robertstown silos and Eudunda bunkers fall on deaf ears

Robertstown's silos will cease operations indefinitely from harvest 2019 despite more than 70 disgruntled grain growers meeting with Viterra officials on Friday seeking to retain the service.

In May this year farmers in the region were notified by email of the silos' closure from the Australian grain handling network who own and operate the site.

The town's silos are among the list of 11 of Viterra's regional sites in the state to permanently stop, including Stockwell, after not being in operation for over a year.

Referring to the closures as a business decision, an additional six sites operational during last year's harvest will stop with a further blow - bunker capacity also decreasing at Eudunda.

The meeting, led by Robertstown farmer Simon Neinz, enabled growers to voice their burdens to a small panel of Viterra staff invited to Eudunda Clubhouse.

Viterra's operation managers Michael Hill and Jack Tansley provided overviews of the network's outcome.

Mr Hill said that the decision had been made "looking to the future," with drivers bypassing smaller sites in favour of larger sites who take 90 per cent of total receivals.

"The decisions have not been easy ones but had to be made based on a range of factors and information that we had," he said.

Mr Tansely, operations manager for the central region, referred to a 50,000 tonne storage capacity being built at Roseworthy.

Plans are also in place to extend operating hours at Roseworthy for this year's harvest, up 17 hours a day.

Yet the panel was shot down with both laughter and angry comments made by growers when when an unload time frame of "about half an hour" was provided.

However, Mr Hill backed company claims with figures and statistics, including $350 million injected into capital projects, including $136 million in this region alone in support.

But growers continued their fight saying bumper crop years would not enable Roseworthy let alone Eudunda and Saddleworth cope with the demand of extra freight and grain.

Farmers from the Riverland, such as Waikerie, who rely on Robertstown facilities, especially during good seasons, will be forced to cart elsewhere. Mr Hill did make it clear by saying "no" to the Eudunda site closing.

While the farmers questioned the panel for close to two hours, Mr Hill maintained that Viterra's investment continues to remain focused on its larger sites where it can provide the highest level of service to growers.

Meanwhile, the 11 sites to sites that haven't opened for a year or more and will close are: Cungena, Waddikee, Kielpa, Wharminda, Orroroo, Redhill, Robertstown, Long Plains, Stockwell, Wunkar, Alawoona.

The additional six sites that opened last year and will also cease are: Minnipa, Kyancutta, Brinkworth, Paskeville, Millicent, Walpeup (Vic). Growers using the Stockwell site will be encouraged to cart to Roseworthy with durum wheat segregations at Owen.