19/12/2013 - 15:57

WA breaks grain harvest record

19/12/2013 - 15:57

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Western Australian farmers have delivered their biggest harvest in history, with the total haul today surpassing the 15.06 million tonne record set in 2011-12.

WA breaks grain harvest record

Western Australian farmers have delivered their biggest harvest in history, with the total haul today surpassing the 15.06 million tonne record set in 2011-12.

Today’s news comes just six days after grain handler CBH Group revised its harvest estimate upwards to 14.5 million tonnes from the previous estimate of 13.2mt-13.8mt.

With the harvest continuing, the total haul could be substantially higher when completed in the new year.

“There is still plenty of harvest to go and we will stay focused on getting the remainder of the crop safely into storage,” CBH general manager operations David Capper said.

Mr Capper described this year’s recording breaking yield was unprecedented in many ways.

“We not only have received the most tonnes in our history, but we did it in record time.

“The last time we saw a harvest this big, it took until 14 February 2012 to receive, compared to 15 million tonne well before Christmas this year.”

Mr Capper said this achievement was helped by a number of capital works programs undertaken by CBH.

This year also saw rail records broken, with the largest ever amount of grain being moved by rail across WA during November, moving 662,661 tonnes.

That achievement contrasts with the concern many people in the farm sector have been expressing about the adequacy of the state’s grain freight network.

This has included criticism of the state government for failing to invest sufficient funds in rail and road networks in the wheatbelt.

Earlier this week, Rabobank acting state manager Stephen Kelly said that “some farmers are saying this is a once-in-a-lifetime season for their business from an income perspective’’.

“We are most likely witnessing the equal largest crop on record, and wheat cash prices have held around the $300/tonne mark, which is slightly above the price used in most budgets completed at the start of the year,” he said.

Livestock producers have also benefited, with good spring pasture growth in most regions allowing producers to hold onto stock they otherwise might have sold.

These results fed through to a lift in farm confidence in Rabobank's quarterly farm survey.

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