Australia’s biggest grain exporter has started its annual recruitment drive, seeking more than 1000 casual workers to help get WA’s forthcoming grain harvest in the bin. But the group anticipates challenges because of COVID-19 restrictions. CBH is now taking applications for workers who will be based at more than 100 receival sites, stretching from Geraldton to Albany and across to Esperance. The work begins in October and runs for about six weeks, depending on seasonal conditions and how big the crop is likely to be. But the work is not for the faint of heart — CBH warns on its website hours can be up to 12 hours a day with just two days off within a 14-day period. Conditions can be hot and dry, with constant grain dust present, and the remote nature means workers could be based 100km from the nearest town. In return, workers earn good wages, immerse themselves in the local community and could kickstart a career in agriculture, CBH’s website said. CBH chief people officer Kelly McKenzie said the group valued its experienced harvest casual employees and had already contacted individuals employed last season, inviting them to apply for the 2020 harvest. Half of those invited have confirmed they are keen to return this year. Ms McKenzie said the recruitment process was still in the early stages, but CBH had received interest from people located interstate and overseas. “The COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions in place will make it harder for these applicants as we are unable to supply formal offers of employment for quarantine exemptions until positions have been finalised, which will be closer to the start of harvest,” she said. With WA’s COVID restrictions due to ease further in coming weeks, there was unlikely to be any impact to the usual training programs. “However, we are planning for the possibility that restrictions may be re-introduced and are making adjustments to some of our training, including enhancing online training offerings,” Ms McKenzie said. WA farmers have delivered an average crop of about 15.29 million tonnes over the past five years — most being delivered to CBH, injecting up to $6 billion annually into the State’s economy.