WA’S stop-start harvest is almost at an end with only a few CBH sites in the State remaining open.
While harvest has dragged on for some areas of the Kwinana zone and the Albany and Esperance zones, with 15,959,000 tonnes (as of Friday, January 4) delivered to CBH, it has still been one of the State’s biggest harvests in the past decade.
Since 2010, the 2018-19 harvest sits third behind the record year of 2016 where more than 18 million tonnes were produced and 2013, when the Grain Industry Council of WA reported total grain production in WA at 17mt.
This year’s result has been impressive, particularly considering growers had to deal with thunderstorms, fires and a significant frost event, but it came on the back of a good year in the Geraldton zone which delivered 3.29mt and a record year in the Kwinana zone with CBH receivals sitting at 7.928mt as of last Friday.
In what was its last harvest report for the 2018-19 harvest, CBH said harvest was mostly wrapped up with the majority of sites closed across all zones.
Those sites still open are due to receive a few remaining deliveries, but the co-operative expects all its sites will be closed within the next two weeks.
CBH acting general manager operations Ben Raisbeck said after a drawn-out harvest, which saw several ups and downs, it’s shaping up to be one of the biggest seasons in recent years.
“I want to thank all our staff on site who have worked hard over the past couple of months, often under pressure to get the loads through efficiently,” Mr Raisbeck said.
“CBH Operations will now focus on moving grain from site to port to fulfil the demanding shipping requirements that we have in this early new year.”
CBH said about 100,000 tonnes was still to be received in the Albany zone, which will come in over the next few weeks.
With 2.614mt already received in the Albany zone, this would take its harvest total to just over 2.7mt.
Half of the sites across the zone are closed with the remainder to close over the next two weeks.
Albany zone manager Greg Thornton said it was expected that harvest would be completed for all areas over the next two weeks and deliveries from storage into the terminal would continue for a few weeks after that.
The Esperance zone was also close to wrapping up with 71,000t delivered in total last week.
“The zone has received 2.29mt and most sites are closed or will be closed in the coming days,” said Esperance zone manager Mick Daw.
The Geraldton zone has also almost completed its harvest with only 36,000t delivered in the period around Christmas and New Year.
The Kwinana zone has slowed down somewhat from what was a busy period leading into Christmas when many sites broke daily receival records.
In total over the Christmas and New Year period, 220,000t was received in the zone.
Kwinana zone assistant manager Allan Walker said the majority of sites were closed for the season.
“There are only a few of the larger sites open to receive the remainder of the crop which we expect to be completed over the next 10 days,” Mr Walker said.
In terms of the grain market, CBH said the climate was subdued last week with little international interest as most buyers remained on leave over the Christmas and New Year period.
It said grower markets were also relatively subdued with grower selling volumes low as growers took a break over Christmas.
“Prices for APW1 wheat were in the A$360 per tonne free in store (FIS) this week and Australian Hard still remained well into the $400/t FIS,” it said.
In its weekly report, CBH said the trade anticipates that the hot weather on the east coast will see markets in eastern Australia remain firm, with some interest for the first quarter.
“To date the market has seen some 650,000t executed from WA since the beginning of October 2018,” it said.
“In addition, there is expectations of international buyers to also be back in the market next week as they return from annual vacation.
“The barley market continues to be subdued with no strong interest in the market, particularly with Malt barley with the premiums being below $10/t.”