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Wedding waits as bumper crop gets priority

Corrina RidgwayCountryman
Michael and Veronica Bertola.
Camera IconMichael and Veronica Bertola. Credit: Corrina Ridgway/Countryman

Lack of a honeymoon could not be sweeter for newlyweds Michael and Veronica Bertola, now busy reaping some of the highest yields the Bertola family property has seen.

Located 115km north-east of Esperance, the 2860ha program is steadily falling under the sharefarm operation of brothers John and Michael with parents Paul and Pauline.

Less than 500ha remains of the 205ha of Mace wheat, 1000ha Scope and Hindmarsh barley, 515ha Stingray canola and 140ha Gunya peas after the earliest start to harvest in the region's history.

So early it almost set Michael and Veronica's matrimony plans askew when the harvest gate clashed with their October 5 wedding date.

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Their special day ended up falling on a day after reaping had well and truly begun.

"We usually start harvest around October 19 but we had actually finished all our swathing by October 3," Veronica said.

It caused a little extra wedding day stress.

"I knew as soon as we set the date - if anything would bring harvest forwards, that would be it - one of my friends joked I went from being bridezilla to a harvestzilla," Veronica said.

There was little time to revel in wedded bliss as harvest trumped.

As massive yields started to hit the bins, it was all hands on deck.

"No we didn't have a honeymoon but I really don't mind a bit," Veronica said.

"We've been calling it a harvest moon actually."

Yields have been a wedding gift to remember - some of the best the property has seen in over three decades of existence.

The barley averaged 3.5 tonne per hectare, canola yielded an astounding 1.9 tonne per hectare, and the wheat is set to yield 4.6 tonne per hectare.

Field peas were the only crop to struggle, with damper conditions holding them to 700kg per hectare.

Quality has been good although wheat has been dropped to Australian Premium Wheat due to the wetter year pulling down protein.

High yields were assisted by the application of an extra 35 litres per hectare topping of Flexi N taking advantage of the increased moisture available.

Next season the Bertolas will increase their fertiliser input as a reaction to address the extra draw on soil nutrients this year.

Just a week away from finishing, Michael and Veronica have pencilled in a well-earned honeymoon for August next year.

"There's no way harvest can be that early, so we reckon it should be safe to go," Veronica said.

_FAST FACTS _

Who * John, Michael, Veronica, Paul and Pauline Bertola

What * 2860ha rotational cropping, 260 White Dorper cross

Where * Beaumont

Size * Total 2900 Ha

Spotlight o * *n * Wedded bliss

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