WA set for record 16m tonne harvest

Headshot of Jenne Brammer
Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
Monique Dhu stands over the Mingenew collection bins, which are struggling to contain the season's harvest.
Camera IconMonique Dhu stands over the Mingenew collection bins, which are struggling to contain the season's harvest. Credit: Justine Rowe

WA is on back on track for a record grain harvest.

CBH general manager of operations David Capper said receivals reached 15.5 million tonnes on Friday and could reach 16 million tonnes before the New Year, making it the largest harvest in CBH’s 83 year history.

The previous record of 15.8 million tonnes was reached in the 2013-2014 season.

CBH, in October, downgraded its earlier harvest forecast by about three million tonnes to 13-14 million tonnes following multiple frost events which were expected to cause heavy yield penalties on crops.

“It is fair to say that this year’s harvest has well exceeded our estimates and expectations,” Mr Capper said.

Grains Industry Association of WA spokesman Alan Meldrum said the unexpectedly big grain crop was a result of exceptional yields in areas that were not badly frost affected.

In areas hit hard by the frosts, many crops were not as severely damaged as initially expected.

But Mr Meldrum said farmers around the Varley, Hyden, Corrigin, Kondinin and Newdegate areas had borne the brunt of the frosts, with damage of up to 80 per cent in some paddocks.

The grain deliveries had put enormous pressure on CBH’s receival network in areas largely unaffected by frosts, Mr Capper said.

Although harvest was slow in October, the crop has come in thick and fast over November and December.

Along with extra segregations to help manage more coarse grains and varying qualities of grains from the frost, this had placed enormous pressure on CBH sites, resulting in some sites and segregations needing to close early.

Many CBH sites have created emergency storage to cater for the extra inflows. For instance, at Mingenew in the Mid-West, a third emergency storage location was opened to handle the overflow of grain.

That included an old iron ore pad across from the town post office being converted to handle the massive amount of lupins delivered.

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