A fine start for Wandels

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman

With four headers going almost round the clock, harvest is well and truly underway for Scott and Jane Wandel.

The couple farm at Mt Ridley, near Esperance, and after starting harvesting last week have since knocked off 1000 hectares of their 9500ha program. This includes 2500ha of barley, 2500ha of wheat, 1000ha of canola, 2500ha of peas and 500ha of vetch. The family's cropping manager, Aaron Pontifex, said 470ha of Hindmarsh barley was already in the bin and harvesting of the Gairdner was in progress.

But reflective of the short season, screenings are up about 60 per cent, pushing all of the barley harvested so far into feed.

"It looked all right early - we had a pretty good break and got into seeding on Anzac Day," Aaron said.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


"Then May and June were wet but in July and August we really didn't get anything."

The season has meant yields are around average, or slightly below, but so far fine conditions have been ideal for harvesting.

"We've had a good week, and we couldn't ask for anything more," Aaron said. "We've been able to work into the night."

CBH operations manager David Capper said after receiving its first deliveries last Friday, Esperance zone had so far received just a couple of hundred tonnes of canola and barley.

But harvest is about to get into full swing in the area.

Kwinana zone received its first load of canola at Yerecoin and wheat deliveries were expected at Beacon earlier this week.

Geraldton zone has received between 8000 and 9000 tonnes of canola and wheat but Albany zone is yet to take in any grain.

Mr Capper said quality was a case of "so far so good". "Protein in the wheat is higher than last year and screenings are low," he said.

"In Geraldton, the oil in canola is good but canola oil in Esperance has been lower. However, that normally is the case for the canola from the north-eastern area of Esperance."

Barley screenings in Esperance have also been high but Mr Capper said those screenings would lessen once crops closer to the coast were harvested.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails