Shiploads of grain head to the east
RECORD-breaking volumes of grain could be shipped domestically from Western Australia across to the east coast, as western grain production looks set to account for more than half the total national crop.
Up to 2.5 million tonnes of grain could be shipped from WA ports this season, in a bid to keep up with demand from depleted eastern states and South Australia.
A recent Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences report estimated WA would produce about 56 per cent of the nation’s winter crop for the 2018-19 season, compared with an average of 36 per cent over the previous 20 years.
Bulk grain handler CBH general manager David Capper said the Kwinana zone in WA is likely to break its grain production record this season.
“Some areas of the network, yield has well and truly outstripped what we were expecting,” Mr Capper said.
“Shipping has been an absolute rollercoaster. We thought we would have a very quiet period coming into the back end of the year. The drought on the east coast, and strong demand for feed barley, at the moment there’s been a lift in our export capacity,” Mr Capper said.
“It’s a bit of a guess, it could be anywhere from 2 to 2.5 million tonnes of grain go east. It depends on what harvest they do have.”
A meagre harvest on Australia’s east coast, coupled with an increased amount of cereal crops cut for hay in recent months, has eaten into east coast grain production.
Meanwhile, a bumper crop is being delivered to grain receiver sites across WA.