Harvest results a mixed blessing

Claire TyrrellCountryman

At Mullewa, the Thomas family are hoping for a positive end to an eventful season.

Glenn, his wife, Eliza, and Glenn's parents, Michael and Barbara, who farm 20km west of Mullewa, are getting mixed results from their crops.

They started harvesting in mid-October and have taken off about 4000 hectares.

Glenn said wheat and canola were putting him on track for a record year.

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"We're about halfway through harvest and we've done just over 2500ha of wheat," he said.

"We have harvested our highest-ever yielding wheat crop, at five tonnes a hectare."

Their previous record for wheat was just over four tonnes per hectare, achieved in 2005 and 2008.

"Wheat is going at between 3.5 and five tonnes. If it continues on in this vein, we may even surpass 2005 and 2008."

Glenn said he was fairly pleased with the quality of his grain, with two thirds of the wheat going through as APW.

He said protein levels accounted for the downgrades which had averaged about 10.4 per cent.

"Only a third of our wheat has been downgraded to ASW," he said.

"We're getting picked up for sprouting but our falling numbers are OK."

The Thomas' lupins yielded about 2.5 tonnes per hectare, well above their average of 1.6 tonnes.

However, disease prevented the lupins from reaching full potential.

"The lupins were badly affected by sclerotinia," Glenn said. "They are visibly twisted and very hard to harvest.

"They are yielding OK but not for how much bulk they've got."

With close to 500mm of rain since December, Glenn said this was one of his most consistently wet years.

Geraldton Full Flag Agronomics agronomist Simon Teakle said wet and warm conditions this year meant sclerotinia was widespread.

"In the high rainfall areas, sclerotinia has affected canola yields by about half a tonne per hectare," he said.

"It has affected lupins but mainly the ability to harvest them - it hasn't affected yield as much as we first thought."

Glenn said they expected to be finished harvesting by mid to late December.

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