Grain production has a rich and proud history in South Australia. Wheat was first grown on the Adelaide Plains in 1839 as innovative farmers took advantage of the inherently fertile soils. Grain grown was initially grown for domestic consumption but soon became a key export commodity.
In these early days moving grain from farm to the end use customer was time consuming and expensive. Grain was collected into jute bags straight from the header and loaded onto a horse and cart, or train, to travel to one of the forty ports in the state to be exported. However, large amounts of grain was lost through spillage and a lack of effective hygiene and pest control measures.
The South Australian Wheat and Woolgrowers’ Association undertook considerable lobbying for a bulk handling system in South Australia and presented a proposal and draft bill to the State Government in 1954.
In December, 1954 the Association established the South Australian Co-Operative Bulk Handling Limited (SACBH) company.
SACBH purchased its first silo in Ardrossan in 1955. The next year the company built the first country silo at Paskeville, on the Yorke Peninsula.
By the 1980s SACBH’s storage capacity exceeded 4 million tonnes.
In the late 1990s, the Australian Wheat Board and the Australian Barley Board were privatised becoming AWB Ltd and ABB Grain Ltd respectively.
In 2000, growers approved a change to the SACBH corporate structure and it was demutualised to form AusBulk and United Grower Holdings.
Four years later AusBulk and United Grower Holdings merged with ABB Grain Ltd, creating one of Australia’s largest barley marketers.
In 2009, the majority of shareholders elected to sell ABB Grain Ltd to Viterra. This was an opportunity for Australia’s grain to gain exposure to different markets around the world.
In 2012, Viterra was acquired by Glencore.
Today, Viterra is a part of Glencore Agriculture, a global leader in originating, handling, processing and marketing agricultural commodities, including grain, oilseeds, pulses, sugar, rice, cotton, vegetable oils, protein meals and biodiesel.