Har­vest haven

Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­ture: Cally Dupe

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.

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