10/08/2018 - 15:04

Bonanza grain harvest anticipated

10/08/2018 - 15:04

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Farmers could be set for a near record grain harvest of 15.5 million tonnes this season in Western Australia, according to the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia.

Bonanza grain harvest anticipated
CBH Group is the state's largest grain handler.

Farmers could be set for a near record grain harvest of 15.5 million tonnes this season in Western Australia, according to the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia.

That is about 8 per cent higher than the total in the previous season, but comes in some way below the all time record 2016 harvest of 18.2mt, according to GIWA data.

It also in stark contrast to prolonged drought circumstances on the east coast.

Breaking down by grain types, wheat production is expected to be 9.9mt, while barley will be close to 3.6mt and canola around 1.2mt.

Oats production will be 350,000t and lupins 460,000t.

To put that in perspective, in the record 2016 crop, wheat production was 10.2mt, while canola was 2.2mt.

But farmers had yet to navigate weather conditions in coming months as the harvest gets under way, including frosts.

The GIWA said the strong performance was not as strong in southern parts of the state.

“Wheat and barley have above average grain yield potential across all areas of the grainbelt except for the south coast and Esperance zones,” the association said in a release to media today.

“The wheat in the eastern regions of the Geraldton and Kwinana port zones are as good as they have been for many years.

“These areas can produce a lot of grain in a good year and at present there are no poor spots.

“The growing season for the majority of the state has been near perfect so far with crops ahead of where they would normally be with a late May break to the season.

“The only downside to this may be the susceptibility to heat stress if crops are exposed to sudden hot weather.

“The other major risk to crops will be frost over the next six weeks.

“The frost risk to crops is generally considered to be less than it was in 2016; even though crops have moved along quickly this year, they are still behind in growth stage to date from where they were in 2016.

“The current good prices for all grains and good growing conditions have encouraged growers to aim for maximum production and nitrogen fertiliser use has been higher than normal this year resulting in temporary shortages.”

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