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Receival records, rain tumble down

Kate Matthews and Claire TyrrellCountryman
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As daily receival records tumble in WA, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) this week tipped Australia would bring home its biggest winter crop on record.

The forecasting agency said the winter crop was expected to be about 43.4 million tonnes for 2011-12, up on the 41 million tonnes it predicted in September, largely because of favourable winter and spring rainfall in WA, although it had impacted on grain quality.

Of the major winter crops, wheat production is forecast to increase by 1 per cent in 2011-12 to 28.3 million tonnes. Barley production is expected to rise by 4 per cent to 8.5 million tonnes, while canola production is likely to be up by 5 per cent to 2.5 million tonnes.

ABARES expects WA's winter crop to come in at 14.7 million tonnes, made up of around 10.1 million tonnes of wheat, 2.4 million tonnes of barley, 975,000 tonnes of canola and 506,000 tonnes of lupins.

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By last Thursday, CBH reported receivals across the State had surpassed last year's total harvest of 6.5 million tonnes and showed no signs of slowing.

With 63 per cent of an estimated 13.5 million tonnes in the bins on Tuesday, farmers have their fingers crossed for clear skies.

The Geraldton Zone, which took 570,000 tonnes last week, was expecting to break its all time record of 2.5 million tonnes on Wednesday this week.

CBH Geraldton zone manager Duncan Gray said storage was tight and some bins were near capacity.

"The southern part of the zone, through Carnamah and Perenjori, is still going okay and the northern part of the zone is filling up quickly and some facilities are already full," he said.

"Northampton has minimal space, Canna is full and Binnu only has space for lupins."

CBH opened the Sullivan bin on Tuesday to take pressure off the Mullewa and Canna receival sites.

Mr Gray said CBH was also likely to open the Pindar site - the only bin that was closed in the Geraldton zone this harvest - to accommodate an extra 15,000 tonnes of storage.

In the Kwinana zone, manager Brett Jeffrey said 17 sites had broken daily receival records with more expected over the next two weeks. Wickepin increased its record by 100 tonnes to 3200t and Corrigin increased its record to 5450t up from 4900t.

Mr Jeffrey said yields and quality were holding up well and growers needed to keep in touch with local area managers for up-to-date information on site and service availability.

CBH Albany zone manager Greg Thornton said daily receival records had been broken at Katanning, Dumbleyung, Gairdner, Wellstead, Borden, Hyden, Lake Grace and Kukerin.

Katanning growers delivered 3216t on November 21 up from 2800 tonnes set in 2007 and in Dumbleyung, growers last week set a record of 4607t breaking the 2003 record of 4100t.

Mr Thornton said as of Monday, growers had delivered 1.15 million tonnes with 600,000t received in the last seven days but receivals over the next few days would be slow after reports of 4mm to 40mm of rain.

In Tenterden, farmers said hail destroyed some canola crops, while in Borden and Ongerup, roads were closed because of the wet conditions.

Mr Thornton said the extent of the damage won't be known until farmers started harvesting again.

In the Esperance Zone, manager Mick Daw said high moisture services had been opened to enable growers to get going a bit earlier.

On Monday, the zone had received more than a million tonnes, 300,000 tonnes of which came in last week.

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