Harvest all but over except in the south

23 Dec, 2014 01:00 AM
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West Wubin grower Paul Sutherland finished harvest, with lower yields than expected, at the beginning of December following an early start.
...growers are finally getting a good run and are just getting started on wheat.
West Wubin grower Paul Sutherland finished harvest, with lower yields than expected, at the beginning of December following an early start. "I think a very hot and dry August was a major contributor to poor yields," Mr Sutherland said.

HARVEST momentum finally began to build in the Albany zone this past week following a long, wet and disrupted harvest for growers.

The almost 700,000 tonnes received in seven days of good weather was in stark contrast to much of the other regions as many CBH sites were in the process of shutting down.

This influx placed pressure on several CBH sites in terms of storage space and receiving.

According to zone manager Greg Thornton, emergency storages at Wagin, Borden and Broomehill were now in use but storage problems would ease.

He said a "solid shipping program" during the coming weeks would assist in clearing the Albany terminal and re-open services.

"While many harvest programs are starting to wind up in the north of the zone, receivals will continue into the New Year," Mr Thornton said.

"The Lake Grace region is slowing down and we expect the majority of harvest there to be finished by Christmas and in the Jerramungup area we suspect similar.

"Across in the Katanning area and south of the Katanning area around Broomehill and Cranbrook growers are finally getting a good run and are just getting started on wheat."

Mr Thorton said while it had been a long harvest and there was a great deal of unseasonal rain during this period, grain quality was holding up well.

All country sites are closed in Geraldton and the port is receiving the final few deliveries at the end of what many report to be a disappointing harvest.

The overall harvest figure for the state will be issued in January, however the estimate has been downgraded from 13.45 million tonnes to about 13mt.

Geraldton zone manager Duncan Gray said the area took only 1.9mt, which is about 300,000 tonnes less than expected for the region.

In Esperance and Kwinana zones, operations are winding down and reports of moisture issues and delay because of rain drew out the harvest.

Kwinana zone manager Gavin Bignell reported quality held well in the region despite the rain.

He said the north of the zone had good quality, but in the south there were some disappointing results for protein.

He said only a small number of sites would be open following Christmas and for growers to liaise with local staff.

Esperance zone manager Mick Daw said the ongoing rain did cause moisture issues for growers as they "struggled" to get readings below 12.5 per cent.

Unlike the other regions, Esperance growers have been reporting higher than expected yields and quality when considering high rainfall during harvest.

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