Bumper har­vest makes State’s farm­ers smile

The West Australian - - FRONT PAGE - Jenne Bram­mer

It has been a slow and stag­gered start to the WA grain har­vest but early results are smash­ing ex­pec­ta­tions.

At Bal­lidu, 200km north of Perth, Corey Mincher­ton started har­vest­ing bar­ley on Wed­nes­day.

He was ex­pect­ing — and would have been happy — with yields of 2.5-2.8 tonnes/ha but the first 100ha har­vested has sur­prised him by de­liv­er­ing an im­pres­sive 3.5 tonnes/ha.

Mr Mincher­ton said al­though this rep­re­sented just a frac­tion of his to­tal 5400ha pro­gram, he hoped the good re­turn meant the rest of his crop could achieve bet­ter than ex­pected results.

Like most farm­ers across the State, Mr Mincher­ton’s hopes were high through­out the grow­ing sea­son be­cause of nearper­fect con­di­tions

Those hopes looked lost af­ter frost and a lack of im­por­tant fin­ish­ing rains in Septem­ber.

Mr Mincher­ton’s for­tunes changed on the last day of Septem­ber when rain fi­nally ar­rived.

“It seems those rains at the end of Septem­ber and early Oc­to­ber did a lot more good than we ini­tially thought,” he said.

“And while we weren’t as badly af­fected by frosts as farm­ers fur­ther south, we did get a touch and even that dam­age does not look to be as bad as it first ap­peared.”

Grain In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of WA spokesman Michael La­mond said there were reports from farm­ers in the Ger­ald­ton Port zone of crops yield­ing about 10 per cent bet­ter than ex­pected.

He said bar­ley har­vest­ing in some eastern ar­eas had dis­ap­pointed but farm­ers ex­pected wheat could pro­duce bet­ter results.

Co-op­er­a­tive Bulk Han­dling said yes­ter­day about 350,000 tonnes of what grow­ers ex­pected could be a har­vest of at least 15 mil­lion tonnes has been de­liv­ered.

CBH gen­eral manager of op­er­a­tions David Cap­per said there had been a later start to the har­vest than most years be­cause crops were ma­tur­ing in­con­sis­tently.

Grain prices are at re­cent record lev­els, driven partly by the Eastern States drought.

A 15-mil­lion tonne crop would be worth $6 bil­lion to the WA econ­omy at cur­rent prices.

Pic­ture: Simon Santi

Olivia and Cory Mincher­ton with chil­dren Heidi, 8, and Caleb, 10, on their Bal­lidu farm.

Pic­ture: Simon Santi

Corey Mincher­ton at his farm in Bal­lidu.

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