Yields begin to flow into CBH bins as harvest starts
Mid West and Great Southern farmers are starting to bin what is poised to be the State’s smallest harvest in six years, spoiled by lack of rain and frost events across key grain growing regions.
The Tropiano family, of Mullewa, delivered 50 tonnes of GM-canola to Co-operative Bulk Handling’s Geraldton Port terminal on Monday of last week to mark the start of WA’s harvest.
Geraldton’s launch was followed by the start of the Great Southern deliveries, after Boxwood Hill farmer Stuart Hocking sent a load of canola to CBH’s terminal at Albany Port on Friday.
Grain grower David Tropiano’s program includes about 5600ha of wheat, a 500ha canola crop and 150ha of oats.
The third-generation farmer farms alongside father John and wife Sheree across the family’s two properties based 5km north of Mullewa and 20km south-east of the Mid West town.
Mr Tropiano had harvested about half of the family’s canola crop before he opted to hit the pause button at the weekend, following about 4mm of rain at the properties on Saturday.
With plans to resume this week, Mr Tropiano said it was pleasing harvest had begun after facing tough seasonal growing conditions.
“It is always good to start harvest,” he said.
“It has been a challenging year, really up and down, with patchy rainfall across the property.
“We are pretty happy with it all considering the season but it is early days yet and we have a long way to go.”
CBH Geraldton Port Zone manager Duncan Gray was onsite when the truck rolled through the Port of Geraldton at about 11am on Monday of last week.
He said the zone usually received its first canola delivery between October 4 and October 11 each year.
“I had a direct call from the grower to organise the delivery, we try to get growers to give us a few days notice to get organised,” Mr Gray said.
“We are preparing for a well below average crop (in the Geraldton Port Zone) of between 1.3 to 1.6 million tonnes ... but talking to growers, they just don’t know their yields.”
Mr Gray said the first delivery had tested with surprisingly high quality after a long, dry growing season across WA’s grain growing areas.
The canola will be stored in CBH’s Geraldton Port terminal silos until it is bought by a customer and shipped.
Grain Industry Association of WA’s September crop report downsized its August forecast of 13.7 million tonnes by 1.2 tonnes, to 12.5 million tonnes.
If realised, it would be WA’s smallest harvest since 2012-13, at 10.18 million tonnes, and comes just 12 months after the State delivered its second-biggest but most valuable crop on record in 2018-19.
At 17.2 million tonnes, 16.4 million of which was delivered to CBH, last year’s harvest was worth a record $7.5 billion on the back of record grain prices.
GIWA is expected to release its updated crop report tomorrow.
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