WA grain harvest hits 15.6 million tonnes

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
Muntagin harvest.
Camera IconMuntagin harvest. Credit: Richard Hathaway

WA’s grain harvest has eclipsed CBH’s original estimates by almost a million tonnes, with 15.6 million tonnes delivered to the handler by Friday.

Earlier this year, the company estimated 14.8 million tonnes would be delivered to its bins during the 2018-19 harvest.

But kind seasonal conditions and high yields almost state-wide have seen deliveries exceed the company’s prediction by 800,000 tonnes, with more to come in January.

In its December crop report, Grain Industry Association of WA predicted the State’s harvest to reach 16.9 million tonnes.

Although well above average, 16.9 million tonnes would still fall short of the record in 2016, which reaped about 18 million tonnes.

This included the 16.6 million delivered to CBH Group.

It’s been a harvest of records for growers in the Kwinana Port Zone, which stretches from the Kwinana Grain Terminal in the west to South Yilgarn in the east.

By Friday, growers in the zone had delivered their biggest ever crop to CBH at 7.7 million tonnes.

More than a dozen sites have also broken daily delivery records.

The deliveries smashed the zone’s previous 2013-14 record of 7.5 million tonnes, with CBH attributing the increase to high yields and kind seasonal conditions.

Comparatively, 3.2 million, 2.4 million and 2.2 million tonnes had been delivered across the Geraldton, Albany and Esperance Port Zones by Friday.

CBH’s latest harvest report said grain receivals had slowed down last week as growers finished harvest or pulled up for Christmas.

CBH acting operations general manager Ben Raisbeck said yields had been higher than expected across the Kwinana Port Zone after a “favourable season”.

He said deliveries had been higher than expected at the Geraldton and Esperance Port Zones, but Albany Port Zone was expected to reach its estimate by the end of harvest.

Grain prices reached exceptional prices before Christmas, with Australian Hard values reaching more than $400 a tonne free in store.

Australian Premium White values hovered at about $360 free in store.

The domestic and international markets quietened during the Christmas period, but traders predict things will pick up after the festive season.


It was a monumental week for the Kwinana Port Zone last week as it broke its receival record, with 7.7 million tonnes of grain delivered.

Kwinana Port Zone assistant manager Allan Walker said zone received about 350,000 tonnes last week but operations had started to slow down.

“Lots of sites are now closed for the season and the majority will be closed before the new year,” he said.

“Only a few sites staying open into January to finish off the season.”


Deliveries surpassed expectations by more than 30 per cent this harvest, with total receivals now at 3.2 million tonnes.

Last week was slow, with only 140,000 tonnes received within the seven days leading up to Christmas.

“Most sites are closed now with only a few open in the south of the zone, including the Geraldton Terminal,” Geraldton Zone Manager Duncan Gray said.


The Albany Port Zone received 312,000 tonnes last week, taking total receivals for the year to 2.4 million tonnes.

Most grain received last week was wheat, with 833,000 tonnes delivered within the zone to date.

Barley receivals for the year have reached 1.2 million tonnes, while canola deliveries sit at 275,000 tonnes.

CBH Albany Port Zone manager Greg Thornton said sites in the zone’s north were closing as harvest winds up.

“We expect that harvest in the southern and western areas will continue into January,” he said.


Receivals have slowed down dramatically in the Esperance Port Zone during the past week, as growers finish harvesting this year’s crop.

Esperance Port Zone manager Mick Daw said 140,000 tonnes were delivered last week, bringing total zone receivals to 2.2 million tonnes for the season.

“A number of sites are now closed for the year and the remainder of the sites are expected to be closed around New Year,” he said.

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