Good quality makes up for lower yields

24 Nov, 2004 10:00 PM

THE FLUSH of hot weather last weekend triggered the beginning and the end of this year¹s harvest.

While the first tentative pokes into the crop were occurring in southern Wheatbelt areas, a bin party at Canna, south of Mullewa, was in full swing as farmers celebrated the end of what could best be described as a difficult year.

In the northern Wheatbelt, life-saving September rains had resulted in one of the better quality years, with 95pc of receivals making milling grade - a welcome bonus considering crops had yielded below average.

But further south and east, the win and lose stories can be accurately plotted by what rain fell where.

And if growers weren¹t under the spout where the glory comes out, they were likely to be musing over high screenings in barley and wheat.

In Kondinin, for example, a whopping 95pc of barley deliveries went straight into the feed stack.

But at west Three Springs, growers would be pretty happy with four and five tonne barley crops going malt.

High screening figures were dominating talk at CBH bins in eastern and southern areas, where the season finished like a parched parrot on the Nullarbor.

But the overall picture sees the predominance of deliveries making milling grade.

Geraldton CBH port zone manager Kevin Crouch said a run of hot weather would lead to harvest being completed in the zone within the next two weeks.

³We¹ve got about 60pc in and the quality is holding up right throughout the zone,² he said. ³More than 95pc is making milling grade which is a direct result of September rains filling heads.

³We did have our concerns coming into harvest because of frost and the dry finish, but while yields are down it has finished up pretty good.

³I think the good news story is the performance of Hamlyn barley which has gone very well in the areas that received good rainfall.²

Esperance CBH port zone manager Steve Baker said about 50pc of an estimated 1.3mt of grain had been received.

³If we get a run of good weather, things will wind up pretty quickly,² he said. ³Yields are a touch under the five year average and while we¹ve got high screenings in wheat and barley, the high protein in wheat is seeing most making milling grade.²

Albany CBH port zone manager Mike Daws said harvesting was cranking up, though further delays were expected because of predicted rain.

³We¹ve got 300,000t in the bin and we¹re expecting about 2mt,² he said. ³It¹s a pretty variable picture because we have a lot of areas in the zone that had a tight finish and that¹s reflected in high screenings in barley and wheat.

³But we expect most grain will make milling grade.²

At Merredin, CBH district manager Jamie Pages said hot weather last weekend saw a flurry of activity with all bins now open.

³We¹re expecting around 1.2mt of grain and we¹ve got about 20pc of that, but if we get a run of hot weather it will be a lot busier around here,² he said.

³Yields are variable between six and 10 bags and high screenings is a bit of problem in some areas.²

Wongan Hills CBH district manager Duncan Gray said all receival sites were kept busy last weekend with few quality issues.

³We¹re about 25pc of the way through and most guys are reporting above average yields,² he said. ³Wheat is now starting to come in and it looks good.²

At Corrigin, CBH district manager Mike Weguelin said he expected most deliveries of high screening grain would come from eastern areas.

³North and west of us the quality issues are variable, while in southern areas the barley is making malt and the soft wheat is making grade,² he said.

³It is early days yet because we¹ve only received 110,000t and we¹re expecting 700,000t.²

Lake Grace CBH district manager Lisa Parker said crops were coming off quickly as farmers capitalised on hot weather.

³We¹ve only received 145,000t of grain and we¹re expecting to hit the million mark,² she said. ³So far the main trend is high screenings in barley and some light weight grain in wheat.

³It was a tight finish for many farmers but some benefited from rains five weeks ago and those crops look good.²

Grain Pool grower services coordinator Hugh Morison said it was expected that a lot of barley would be delivered to the feed pool.

³The dry year in many areas just didn¹t help crops and it was obvious that the quality was going to come from the areas that picked up the good rain,² he said. ³Lupin and canola yields have been variable but in some areas there has been outstanding results, including high oil in canola.

³Probably the best results we¹ve got so far have come from the central northern Wheatbelt including areas such as Koorda, Carnamah, Coorow, Moora and Wongan Hills and the western side of the Great Southern.

³There¹s also been good results at Southern Cross and parts of the Yilgarn.²



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