Harvest gains pace as mercury rises

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Jenne BrammerCountryman
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Warmer weather means the 2016 harvest continued to gather pace across the State last week.

For many — particularly in the north — the canola harvest is done and dusted, and growers are moving on to wheat. However, warm weather meant harvest bans were in place in some areas.

Daryl and Shiree Hamersley, who crop 11,000ha with Daryl’s father Len and his partner Helen around Walkaway, said their 2016 harvest started slowly because of cool weather, but they had since made good progress.

He said GM canola and Pallinup oats were now in the bins and they recently started on wheat, hoping to make good progress amid the warmer weather.

“We’ve barely scratched the surface of the wheat, but expect we’ll get a good run at it in coming weeks,” he said.

Mr Hamersley said he had been happy with yields. Although there had been frost damage on eastern blocks, the better areas had more than compensated.

The family has planted eight varieties of wheat, the main ones being Magenta, Calingiri and Wyalkatchem.

He expects the family will finish its 2016 harvest just before Christmas.

According to CBH, more than two million tonnes of of grain had been received so far across the four port zones.

CBH’s estimate for the harvest remains at 13 million-14 million tonnes. Half that amount was from the Geraldton Port Zone.

CBH general manager of operations David Capper said Geraldton had come under significant pressure in the past week, with some sites breaking receival records.

Moonyonooka broke its all-time daily receival record two Tuesdays ago by receiving 11,830 tonnes.

Harvest is also under way in the southern zones.

In the Kwinana Port Zone, just over 900,000 tonnes had been delivered as of last Friday.

Yields in crops that have not been frosted have been very good across the north of the zone, particularly for canola, where a number of crops are yielding more than two tonnes per hectare.

However, as growers in the Kwinana zone move into cereal crops, quality issues resulting from frost damage are starting to become more evident.

CBH said it was still too early to ascertain the true impact on yields.

Harvest is also under way in the southern zones, with Esperance starting to see some reasonable tonnes and Albany expecting to see more come through next week. CBH Albany Port Zone manager Greg Thornton said frosts towards the end of the growing season were having an impact on quality.

“There have been some quality issues, mainly from crops in the northern parts of the zone, and we are seeing a much higher proportion of canola being segregated into lower grades,” he said.

“We have had some barley come through — about 70 per cent of that has been segregated as feed barley. We have also introduced some Malt2 segregations.”

In the Esperance Port Zone, reasonable tonnes are starting to be delivered, however issues with grain being too green had slowed progress.

The pace was expected to pick up this week, amid the warmer weather. So far yields in this zone had been better than expected.

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