A canola crop ripe for the picking is the perfect playground for Williams brothers Dylan Chadwick, 8, and Nicholas, 10.
The 2018 WA grain haul is on track to be 2.5 million tonnes — worth almost $1 billion to the State’s economy — better than forecast when the annual harvest started in October.
The Grain Industry Association of WA said in its December Crop Report, released yesterday, that WA was likely to deliver a 16.8 million-tonne harvest.
Although well above average, 16.8 million tonnes would still fall short of the record in 2016, which reaped about 18 million tonnes, including 16.6 million delivered to CBH Group. GIWA spokesman Michael Lamond said despite the impact of recent storms, spot fires and rain, the earlier impact of frosts, a dry September, and the confined strip of dry conditions across the south coast — yields had been better than expected across the WA grainbelt. “Total tonnage projections continue to rise as more area is harvested,” he said.
“Cool conditions across the State during October, coupled with rainfall in early October in the central regions and some parts of the southern regions, contributed to a projected increase of around 2.5 million tonnes of total grain since the start of harvest.”
The bigger-than-expected harvest caps off a rollercoaster season for grain growers, and coincides with record high grain prices, at a time when the Eastern States are in the grip of drought.
Mr Lamond said barley had been a stand-out crop with some paddocks yielding five to six tonnes a hectare. There was also about 20 per cent more land planted to barley compared with the previous year, meaning GIWA is expecting a record 4.3 million tonnes of barley will be harvested. Other crop production estimates include 9.7 million tonnes of wheat, 1.6 million tonnes of canola, 550,000 tonnes of oats and 595,000 tonnes of lupins.
Mr Lamond said even along the south coast where conditions had been very dry, yields were poor but slightly better than expected.
The State’s harvest of about 8.2 million hectares is about 70 per cent through, and CBH has crossed the 10 million-tonne delivery mark.
Mr Lamond said harvest progress was later than in an average year, mostly because of late opening rains.