Harvest tonnage surprise

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman
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Harvest has faired better than first feared.

CBH says it is now hopeful of nearing the six million tonne mark.

Initially the grain handler put the harvest estimate at 5.4 million tonnes, but grains operation manager Max Johnson said tonnages had come as a surprise.

“We still think we’ve got a way to go and I don’t think we’ll make six million, but we’re going to give it a go, ” he said.

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“Barley and canola have been disappointing, but the wheat in some areas has been very positive.

“In Kwinana north, growers have been pleasantly surprised.”

The weight of the grain has come as a shock, with one Binnu grower recording the highest hectolitre known to CBH at 87kg.

Wheat quality has also remained high, with 67 per cent of the grain going milling grade.

About half the barley delivered has been graded as malt one or two.

The big surprise of the season has been the Kwinana zone, which despite being the worst affected by drought is likely to exceed its estimated tonnage.

Just two months ago, CBH was forecasting the zone’s harvest to be slashed by three million tonnes, coming in at just 1.6 million.

But the zone has already delivered 1.7 million tonnes and Kwinana zone manager Brett Jeffrey said it was likely to hit two million.

Harvest is winding up in the Geraldton zone with between 50,000 and 70,000 tonnes to be delivered.

However, in Albany and Esperance, where another 400,000 tonnes are still expected, harvest has been slowed by rain.

Across the board, falls of 8 to 9mm were recorded, but some growers received about 20mm.

Set to be followed by a series of damp and cool days, CBH is now bracing for sprouting problems.

Extra falling numbers machines have been mobilised and Mr Johnson said wheat that was previously visually sprouted but over 300 on falling numbers could now fail to make the mark.

The Esperance zone is about 70 per cent of the way through harvest with 967,000 tonnes delivered, while Albany has received 687,000 tonnes of a 1.2 million tonne estimate.

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