‘Staggering’: WA growers deliver a record-breaking 21 million tonnes to CBH, with more still to come

Headshot of Shannon Verhagen
Harvest in Bullaring.
Camera IconHarvest in Bullaring. Credit: Shane Douglas/Supplied

WA’s record harvest has surged to a bin-bursting 21 million tonnes this week, making it the biggest harvest in not only West Australian history, but Australian history.

In the past week, 580,000 tonnes were delivered across CBH Group’s receival network to reach the record figure, with up to another 400,000 tonnes more still to come.

The record tonnages have seen numerous sites break harvest and daily receival records, with Mingenew breaking the record for the biggest harvest ever received by a country site outside the four ports — finishing up with a whopping 643,460 tonnes.

While the pace has slowed as many growers, particularly in the north of the State, wrap up harvest and sites close, acting chief operations officer Mick Daw said more was still to come, particularly in the Albany zone, which got off to a late start off the back of waterlogging.

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“Congratulations to all of the growers who have now finished harvest,” he said.

“We have faced many challenges this year from natural disasters, to labour and skill shortages, COVID-19 related restrictions and everything else in between.

“However, one of the greatest surprises for CBH and our grower members has been this years’ record harvest, of which we have received a staggering 21 million tonnes to date.”

The Albany Zone — which has received 4.25mt after growers brought in 210,000 tonnes last week — will be where most of the last deliveries are received, with most primary sites remaining open to receive the 200,000 tonnes still anticipated to come.

The Geraldton Zone is “all but finished,” according to the bulk handler’s final 2021-22 harvest report, released on Monday, with last week’s 60,000 tonnes bringing the zone’s total to a whopping 1.9mt.

It has been a bin-bursting haul from the zone, with many sites breaking all-time and daily receival records throughout the 2021-22 harvest.

Kwinana North Zone — which broke its all time harvest record for the zone, as well as several site and daily records — as of Monday had received 5.1mt, with 130,000 tonnes delivered last week and less than 50,000 tonnes anticipated left to come.

Less than 50,000 tonnes is also anticipated to be left for the Kwinana South Zone, which hit 4.2mt on Monday after 105,000 tonnes were delivered last week.

The Esperance Zone has had an incredible harvest, with 10 out of 13 sites having their “best ever” season and eight out of 13 breaking daily receival records.

Growers delivered 75,000 tonnes last week, bringing the total to 3.55mt, with a handful of sites remaining open as a high number of on-farm silo bags are anticipated to come in from around the zone.

Mr Daw said preparing the bulk handler’s supply chain and network to receive, handle and outload the bumper crop had been a key focus and thanked growers for their “hard work and patience” during harvest.

“This year we built and added 2.3mt of emergency storage at 33 sites in our network — which is 10 per cent of our total storage capacity, mobilised and operational within months,” he said.

“While there could be another 400,000 tonnes to be delivered, we are staying focused on getting the remaining crop in safely and efficiently, cleaning up sites and transitioning to out-loading.

“I would like to thank and congratulate our grower members for their hard work and patience, and thank our employees and contractors for their massive effort in helping us safely receive this bumper crop.”

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