Har­vest gets off to stag­gered start

Albany Extra - - Extra News - Cally Dupe

Head­ers are rolling — al­beit slowly — from sheds to pad­docks across WA’s crop­ping zone, with more than 69,000 tonnes of grain de­liv­ered to CBH bins so far.

The stag­gered start to har­vest has been at­trib­uted to late rains and cool con­di­tions, with CBH’s first har­vest re­port for the 2017-18 sea­son in­di­cat­ing a marked dif­fer­ence to progress com­pared with last year at 640,000 tonnes.

By last Fri­day, Esper­ance Port Zone re­ceivals were 48,364 tonnes, com­pared with 17,702 tonnes in Ger­ald­ton Port Zone, 3179 tonnes in the Kwinana Port Zone and 614 tonnes in the Al­bany Port Zone.

At Won­doondy, 30km south of Mullewa, Julie and Paul Free­man started harvesting their 6000ha of crop last Thurs­day.

Mr Free­man said his staff had first tack­led 150ha of 43Y85 canola, be­fore mov­ing onto 200ha of Mace wheat. They also crop Scep­tre and Zen wheat, PBA Jurien and Man­delup lupins and Hy­ola 404RR canola.

“The yields have been quite good so far and the crops that ger­mi­nated early are look­ing OK,” he said. “

“Where we couldn’t get it to ger­mi­nate un­til late is pretty ordi- nary and still green. There are some bits that are a fair way be­hind and they prob­a­bly won’t be worth harvesting.”

Like most farm­ers in the Mid West, the Free­mans had “good sum­mer rains” be­fore the weather turned dry.

“It was hard to get the crops ger­mi­nated at the start of the sea­son, and the late rains have re­ally made the crops for us,” Mr Free­man said.

Ger­ald­ton Port Zone man­ager Dun­can Gray said re­cent rain­fall had slowed the zone’s har­vest progress. “We will start to see some bet­ter weather con­di­tions this week,” he said.

“Hope­fully that will add to our cur­rent re­ceivals, which at present is about 10,000 tonne, mainly made up of ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied canola.”

The first canola was de­liv­ered to the Al­bany and Kwinana port zones about two weeks ago.

Kwinana Port Zone as­sis­tant man­ager Al­lan Walker said it was likely har­vest in the re­gion would not be in “full swing” for sev­eral weeks.

“It’s still pretty green at the mo­ment,” he said. “We might open a few sites next week but it will de­pend on the weather.”

Har­vest in the Al­bany Port Zone would also likely kick off in the next two weeks, ac­cord­ing to Stir­lings to Coast Farm­ers president Derek Cur­wen.

“It’s a stag­gered start to har­vest,” he said. “Crops are ripen­ing at dif­fer­ent stages.”

How­ever, Mr Cur­wen said head­ers on his South Stir­ling farm typ­i­cally rolled out in Novem­ber.

“Grow­ers a bit fur­ther east of us have started, but in the next 10 days things will crank up,” he said.

“We ex­pect to start in the mid­dle of next week, with canola, but it de­pends what hap­pens with the weather.”

Pic­ture: Justine Rowe

Farm­ers Julie and Paul Free­man with header drivers Brad Lynch and Luke Pace and chaser bin driver Stu­art Thomas.

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