WA grain harvest ramps up with 3 million tonnes in the bin

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
Harvest in WA's Wheatbelt.
Camera IconHarvest in WA's Wheatbelt. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

WA’s grain harvest is ramping up, with more than three million tonnes delivered into the CBH Group network as farmers embrace the warm weather and sunny skies.

But there’s still a long way to go before the State reaches the 14.95Mt bounty predicted by the Grain Industry Association of WA last month — an historically “good result” considering both the low plantings and lack of rainfall this year.

The tally — revealed at close of business on November 6 — was well up on the 1.70Mt sitting in the co-operative’s sprawling network of upcountry and metro sites just one week earlier.

CBH chief operations officer Mick Daw said this year’s harvest had already yielded some interesting results after starting on September 27 with a 52-tonne delivery of lupins at CBH Group’s Yuna bin.

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“This year’s harvest is the earliest we have ever received two million tonnes into the CBH system,” Mr Daw said.

“Compared to the end of October last year, we had received 490,000 tonnes in the system.

“It’s incredible to think how much grain has come in so quickly during October this year.”

CBH Esperance Port Zone manager Mick Daw.
Camera IconCBH chief operations officer Mick Daw. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

During the week between October 13 and November 6, all five of CBH Group’s port zones doubled their total receivals for the year.

CBH Group’s Albany Port Zone received more than 298,000 tonnes in seven days, which was more than 70 per cent of the total amount of grain farmers in that area yielded during all of last year’s harvest.

CBH Group’s Esperance, Geraldton and Kwinana North Zones have already notched up more than 700,000 tonnes so far.

Mr Daw said the Albany and Kwinana South Zones were experiencing a “significant uptick”.

“Both more than doubled their total receivals for the year in just seven days,” he said.

“It’s good to see all commodities coming into the system, with wheat, canola and barley making up the majority.”

GIWA slashed its harvest prediction for WA by 550,000 tonnes in October, amid unseasonably hot conditions and a lack of spring rain.

The figure was 3 per cent down on the September forecast of 15.5Mt and nearly 43 per cent lower than last year’s record 26Mt yield, which pumped $10 million into the State’s economy.

GIWA crop report author Michael Lamond said most growers were reporting actual yields to be less than expected.

“The hot temperatures and lack of subsoil moisture during the final stages of grain fill has taken the top off the potential grain yields and reduced grain quality, with many crops now going to have issues with screenings,” he said.

GIWA plans to release its next crop reports on November 17 and December 15, with the 2023-24 summary available on February 9.

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