THERE'S some big predictions being made about this year's harvest, with a Grain Industry Association of WA (GIWA) report last week estimating a 17.25 million tonne haul.
This will come close, or could even beat, the previous record set in season 2013/14 which GIWA placed at 17mt.
"The general consensus is that with the soil moisture levels across the grainbelt, and average rainfall for the rest of the season, a record crop can be expected," GIWA said in its July report.
"Plant health is generally excellent with growers alert to the yield potential seen in the paddock and therefore quick to implement any crop protection measures to help protect yield potential."
The prediction exceeds an ABARES forecast in June of a 15.5mt harvest for WA and CBH's 14-16mt forecast.
Lupin plantings are up by almost 50 per cent on last year, followed by oats 41.9pc, field pea 37.1pc, wheat 16.1pc and barley 11.2pc.
Canola plantings increased only slightly by 10.4pc and GIWA is predicting a 16.4pc lift on last year's crop.
Farmanco consultant David Cameron said yield potential varied, with growers aiming for 1.8-4t/ha in lower rainfall zones and in the higher rainfall zone yields of 5t/ha with areas of 6-7t/ha.
He said growers should match their yield potential with their soil type and rainfall zone to ensure they would not be overly optimistic.
"For example, in the lighter soils modelling might be showing a very high yield potential, but this should be tempered with the fact that there may not be enough soil moisture to carry the crop through if the season cuts out," Mr Cameron said.
"Aim for a realistic yield based on your rainfall zone and soil type."
Grain marketing advisor Reece Duffield, MarketAg, said WA growers were starting to focus on the potential size of the wheat crop following the big harvest estimates.
Mr Duffield said growers should have one eye on international values and the other on basis, or the premium cash values, achieved over Chicago futures.
The trend in basis may in part reflect the market's view on crop size and its ability to make export sales.
"The introduction of CBH's long-term agreements for shipping doesn't appear to have affected basis bids as much as initially thought," Mr Duffield said.
"The ability for a buyer to spread their export window across the entire year at a known cost has so far provided pricing alternatives to suit a number of grain pricing strategies based on cash-flow and tax management."
He said in the past two seasons forward sale opportunities had been at or above decile 8 pricing levels.
APW1 on a multi-grade contract has achieved $320/t FIS 12-18 months out from that crop's harvest.
"While there are restrictions from a production perspective, the opportunity to price within a decile 5-7 level have popped up in sustained periods in both the past few seasons when production risk is lower later in the year," Mr Duffield said.
2016 APW1 multi-grade pricing has achieved a decile 6 so far this year, and the expected growing WA and national crops are putting added pressure on FIS values.
"Global factors accompanying a large local crop could see buyers tempered in their appetite to buy too much of the crop in a short period of time, relative to other origins," Mr Duffield said.
New crop basis has been relatively steady over the past few months at decile 5-6, while cash prices have dropped $35/t and CBOT Dec-16 futures falling nearly US100 cents/bushel since the start of June.