Young Family – Blackheath (Vic)

Young Family – Blackheath (Vic)

Harry Young is a sixth-generation cropping and merino sheep farmer from Blackheath, Victoria. It was great to catch up with Harry and have a chat about how his family manages grain storage and how on-farm storage works to their advantage.

Harry admits he is farming in beautiful cropping country and has enjoyed a couple of really good years. Over time, the family has reduced stocking numbers, and Harry believes they now have the right balance between stock and cropping to take advantage of the good growing conditions in the region.

Depending on the season, the Young family harvests between two and four thousand tonnes of grain a year, including wheat, barley, lentils, canola, and field peas. Harry said they began storing grain on-farm about ten years ago.

“The first 500 tonnes was the hardest,” Harry said.

To begin with, the Youngs had an arrangement with a nearby trucking company; the Youngs would lease silos at mates rates on the agreement they used the trucking company to transport grain. They had some of their own storage space, and combined with leasing, the profits made from that first year were reinvested into a new silo.

Their first serious silo had a capacity of 650 tonnes; it wasn’t a Kotzur silo, but they were able to pay it off in March following the first harvest after its purchase. From then on, the profits made from selling grain they have been able to store on-farm have been reinvested in increasing on-farm storage capacity.

Harry said once he had the capacity to store two to three thousand tonnes of grain, the benefits really began to pay for themselves, as he was in control of his grain marketing.

“We are now storing 100 percent of our grain on-farm; it has given us total control over our grain marketing. Bumper crops can be stored and not sold at harvest time; we can hold onto barley and not have to sell it every year,” he said.

The Youngs purchased their first Kotzur silo in 2020, their second in 2022, and currently have a third silo on order. All three are built on-site silos with capacities equivalent to 755 tonnes of wheat and 942 tonnes of wheat. The aeration abilities of the silos play a hugely critical role in their farming operation; Harry stated that he would not buy a silo without aeration fans, which generally come standard with a Kotzur silo.

“We are purchasing an additional silo to provide us with extra flexibility; it will allow us to store lentils and take advantage of profitable markets rather than having to sell at harvest.

“To be honest, I enjoy having control of my grain and selling when I want. There can be big profits made when you have flexibility and control,” said Harry.

With 100 percent of grain now stored on-farm, Kotzur’s fumigation systems are “just magic,” according to Harry. By following the basic principles of fumigation and aeration, Harry can rest assured that his grain is protected while in storage.

The Youngs have formed a solid relationship with their grain broker, who knows he can rely on them for grain that has retained quality during storage and can access when the market is favorable, which a good on-farm storage system can provide.

He said from the get-go, Kotzur has been unbelievable to work with; they have prioritised the service of any issues that have arisen and have been reliable to deal with. Their silos are a trusted product that can withstand the pressures of the Wimmera conditions.