Grain flows to bins at Esperance Port Zone

Dorothy HendersonCountryman
Farmhands Scott Watkins, Rory Greene and Dave Pengilly are keeping the headers rolling on the Graham family’s Dalyup property.
Camera IconFarmhands Scott Watkins, Rory Greene and Dave Pengilly are keeping the headers rolling on the Graham family’s Dalyup property. Credit: Dorothy Henderson

Hot weather stalled harvest action briefly in the Esperance region this month, but the headers were soon rolling again and grain continued to flow into receival points.

Fine conditions favoured those working to get this year’s crop off and safely into storage.

On farm at Dalyup, about 35km west of Esperance, Wes Graham said his crop had been yielding particularly well.

Ironically, this is a reflection on the relative lack of rain.

The Dalyup property has received 200mm less than usual, with 330mm of rainfall recorded so far this year.

“We are getting very good yields, because we don’t have the waterlogging we normally have around here,” Mr Graham said.

With 1200ha of crop providing balance to a livestock enterprise that consists of 2000 Angus breeders and 2500 sheep, Mr Graham said good harvest so far was helping to balance his concerns about feed and water availability in the months ahead.

“Our canola is yielding really well, around 2.3t/ha, and we are getting between 4t to 6t/ha for the wheat and barley,” he said.

This year, the Grahams trialled Planet and Buff barley varieties.

They liked Planet for its potential to provide high yields, while the early flowering Buff was selected for areas with acid soils. While the crops are yielding well, Mr Graham said he was worried about feed and water.

“We have underground water and dams, but after the last two years, I am concerned about the period leading up to autumn,” he said.

With hay and straw baled, Mr Graham has made sure there will be feed on hand to supplement the livestock, which are such an integral part of the farming operation.

Grain has been pouring into bins across the Albany Port Zone, with the region receiving the most grain in the zone so far, at 1.5 million tonnes.

By Tuesday, CBH had received 6.2 million tonnes of grain this harvest.

Activity levels have increased due to warm and dry weather, and CBH has 111 sites open.

November 13 was the biggest day of harvest so far, with 330,000 tonnes received across CBH’s five port zones. CBH operations gen-eral manager Ben Macnamara said harvest was more than a quarter of the way through.

“We expect daily receivals to peak over the next few weeks,” he said.

“Given seasonal conditions, we have been seeking to manage segregations to cater for the wide variability in crop quality. Around half ... to date have been barley with just over a quarter wheat. We’re anticipating wheat deliveries to increase in the coming days.”

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