Wheels in motion for harvest

Jo Fulwood, Jessica Pawelec and Corrina RidgwayCountryman

The harvest wheels are turning in the Geraldton and Esperance port zones, with the first deliveries of canola for the 2013-14 season trucked in late last week.

In Geraldton, more than 403 tonnes of canola marked the first delivery of the harvest to arrive at there ahead of this year's season.

A CBH Geraldton spokesman said dry weather had allowed canola harvesting to begin and it was expected wheat, barley and oats would trickle in over the next few days. The cooler weather will bring in lupins, harvested in November.

The first batch of canola came from Andrew Royce's farms on the Greenough Flats and Walkaway.

"The canola oil content is really good at 46 per cent, seven per cent moisture and 21 per cent protein," CBH terminal manager Eric Cooper said.

Despite crops north of Geraldton having the least rainfall in the Mid West, there have been no reported delays to harvesting at Northampton and Geraldton.

CBH Geraldton zone manager Duncan Gray said the quality and oil content had been good in the early deliveries.

He said he understood lupins were also being harvested in the Binnu district, but these had not yet been delivered into the CBH system.

"If the weather is kind we'll start to see a lot of growers taking off their canola and lupins in the next fortnight," Mr Gray said.

He said the only bin currently open in the Geraldton zone was the port receival site, but other satellite bins would be opened rogressively.

CBH has predicted it will receive 2.5 million tonnes in the Geraldton zone, but Mr Gray said he believed that figure could be higher.

In Esperance, the first delivery of 48.5 tonnes of canola was to the zone's port receival site.

Speaking last Friday, Esperance zone manager Mick Daw said conditions had been damp and so the start to harvest had been slow.

As with the Geraldton zone, Mr Daw said he expected harvest to gain momentum over the next few weeks as the weather warmed up.

Reports from producers across the region have indicated widespread movement on canola from October 5 onwards.

Cereals are set to follow canola closely, with talk of local grain drying services called upon for an earlier start and delivery.

"We have had a few samples of barley in already from north-east of Esperance," Mr Daw said.

"All receival points other than Chadwick are ready to go."

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