Dry weather leads CBH to pare back crop forecast

Claire TyrrellCountryman
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Dry conditions have prompted CBH to scale back its crop estimates for this harvest by about half a million tonnes.

CBH grain operations manager Max Johnson said dry weather in the southern part of the State caused the company to drop back its forecast.

"Our crop estimates are sitting at about 11 to 12 million tonnes and now we are looking at the lower end of that," he said. "Just last month the outlook was about 12 million tonnes."

Crops in the Esperance zone are some of the driest in the State this season.

CBH Esperance zone manager Mick Daw said receival estimates lowered over the past month.

"We are looking at about 1.5 million tonnes of grain for the zone," he said. "Three weeks ago, before the hot dry winds, we were expecting about 1.8 million tonnes.

"There is not enough subsoil moisture and we haven't had a decent rain in about a month."

Ravensthorpe farmer Andrew Chambers said his season was panning out like last year.

He said he expected close to 1.5 tonnes per hectare for his cereals and 0.5 tonnes for canola.

"We haven't had a decent rain for about a month," he said.

"We've had 240mm of rain for the year and more than 100mm of that was in January and February.

"We are tracking pretty close to last year, which was below average."

CBH said the Geraldton zone is the standout this season and was expected to smash its harvest record.

The former record of 2.6 million tonnes for the Geraldton zone was set in 2003-04.

In the same year, CBH recorded its highest grain intake for WA, 14.7 million tonnes.

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