Har­vest on track for Mills

Countryman - - HARVEST - Melissa Wil­liams

Har­vest is a fam­ily af­fair on Pe­ter and Kate Mills’ Min­genew prop­erty this year, with three of their four chil­dren at home to help take off the crop they all helped to plant.

Youngest son James has just fin­ished Year 12 and joins sib­lings Jack and Mag­gie to strip the 3700ha pro­gram, which com­prises 2300ha of wheat, 200ha of feed bar­ley, 1000ha of lupins and 200ha of canola.

Pe­ter Mills said the fam­ily, with other son Henry, had all worked to­gether to sow the crop and it was great they could “re­group” to put it in the bin.

He said the 2018 sea­son had panned out well for them, de­spite be­low av­er­age sum­mer rain of about 70mm mean­ing the bulk of crops were sown dry — with lim­ited sub­soil mois­ture.

Grow­ing sea­son rain­fall was about 280mm and abruptly stopped in Au­gust, which was about a month ear­lier than usual.

“The early fin­ish has slightly im­pacted on lupin yields on our heavy coun­try but the wheat looks like it has come through rel­a­tively un­scathed,” Mr Mills said.

“We haven’t got into it yet, but we ex­pect wheat yields might be a bit above av­er­age.”

To the end of last week, the Mills fam­ily had har­vested 200ha of feed bar­ley that was yield­ing about 1.7 tonnes/ha on av­er­age.

The fam­ily had also started tak­ing off lupins sown on heavy soils and th­ese were yield­ing about 1.5t/ha.

Mr Mills said warmer weather dur­ing the past week­end had al­lowed them to crank up their newly pur­chased header and they were work­ing at a good pace.

To the start of this week, 157,773t of grain had been re­ceived from across the WA grain­belt by CBH Group.

This in­cluded 138,800t in the Ger­ald­ton port zone, 5200t in Esper­ance and 13,300t in Kwinana, in­clud­ing a pick-up of ac­tiv­ity in Merredin and Ko­orda.

CBH Group Ger­ald­ton zone man­ager Dun­can Gray said grow­ers in the Al­bany zone had not yet made any de­liv­er­ies but were ex­pected to start mov­ing grain into the sys­tem this week.

Beau­mont farmer and Lyn­don Mickel said rain had ar­rived just in time, three weeks ago, to re­cover some of his po­ten­tial crop yield losses from a big dry spell that spanned most of win­ter.

“We had a very dry start and no sig­nif­i­cant rain for the sea­son un­til Au­gust,” he said.

“Be­fore this Oc­to­ber rain, we were star­ing down the bar­rel.

“The rain has seen our ce­real crops fill well, our pulses have picked up and look rea­son­able and our hopes are now on achiev­ing av­er­age yields.

“But canola yields will be well be­low av­er­age, mainly due to stag­gered ger­mi­na­tion from the dry start to the sea­son.”

Pic­ture: Jus­tine Rowe

The Mills fam­ily from Min­genew: Kate, Mag­gie, 19, Jack, 21, James, 17, and Pe­ter.

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