WA on target to smash grain harvest records

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Good early rains have WA farmers on track for a record harvest.
Camera IconGood early rains have WA farmers on track for a record harvest. Credit: The West Australian

WA is on target to smash grain harvest records as the season continues to smile on farmers throughout the Wheatbelt.

CBH said yesterday it was expecting growers to deliver up to 16 million tonnes into its storage and handling system.

That is more than the record 15.8mt received two years ago when a poor start to the season turned into a bumper finish for many growers.

CBH is preparing to open receival sites that have been closed in recent years and looking at options for boosting its storage capacity.

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Mt Walker grower Bill Cowan said the eastern Wheatbelt was enjoying a remarkable season after some tough times over the past decade.

“The season here is as good as you could wish for,” he said. “If it does rain out here, we can grow just about anything. And it looks like that might happen.”

Mr Cowan said CBH would have its work cut out storing and carting the grain with rail lines known as tier 3 still closed.

“I can’t see how they will move the grain without T3 or how they can store it without opening every site if it turns out as well as I hope it might,” he said.

Clint Della Bosca, whose family farming interests take in Moorine Rock and the eastern edge of the agricultural region, said some very good crops were taking shape after recent rain.

“Everybody is in the game this year, which is great,” he said.

CBH acting operations manager Mick Daw said the forecast was for 14mt to 16mt.

“Even average rainfall from here on in will give us a very good crop,” he said.

Industry monitoring shows seasonal conditions are the best in a century for many districts.

Mr Daw said the eastern Wheatbelt, the Kwinana port zone and parts of the Albany zone were in top shape, with Esperance and Geraldton not far behind.

“We’ll start to look at where we can build extra storage, one, to put carryover into and move it away from main system and, two, to help us cater with extra tonnes at harvest time,” he said.

“We’ll look at how much we can move at harvest and at just what sites we need to turn on.”

Wheat which remains unsold and in storage from last harvest is an emerging issue. Some marketers predict a record carryover of about 6mt on milling wheat. With much of Australia shaping for a bumper harvest, they see potential for a 10mt carryover next year.

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