Aussie harvest hits full swing

Aussie harvest hits full swing

Cropping News
The barley harvest is beginning to ramp up in Victoria's Wimmera region.

The barley harvest is beginning to ramp up in Victoria's Wimmera region.


Harvest is hitting top gear, and in spite of many areas suffering through drought there is still plenty of grain about.


AUSTRALIA'S three major bulk handlers have taken over 8.62 million tonnes of grain this season so far as harvest hits full swing in southern Australia, where the majority of the grain is.

CBH has taken the most, with 5.15m tonnes, Viterra has received 2.3m tonnes and GrainCorp has taken 1.17m tonnes on the east coast.

The impact of the drought has been particular severe in Queensland and NSW, with GrainCorp general manager of operations Nigel Lotz saying there were large tracts across his business' catchment area that would again receive only negligible tonnages of grain.

"We've got a big site at Condobolin, it will only take about 9000 tonnes in total this year, while sites like Nyngan and Walgett are not opening, it is a tough season, especially for those west of the Newell," Mr Lotz said.

However, he said there were pockets of positivity.

"They have had a pretty solid season in Central Queensland, places like Capella seem to have had some good results."

Mr Lotz said some of the wheat from the region would head down to southern Queensland, while chickpeas would be exported to the subcontinent.

The harvest is just ramping up in Victoria.

Mr Lotz said he was hopeful of the state generating an exportable surplus.

"There is definitely going to be more grain than last year, while there are still some parts where it has been too dry once again, other areas such as the northern Wimmera are looking a lot better so hopefully we'll see that grain hitting the system in the next couple of weeks."

In South Australia, Viterra has ploughed through its busiest week for the year, taking over 800,000 tonnes for the seven days to Sunday.

Viterra operations manager Michael Hill said there had been increased hours early last week to compensate for site closures during the high risk fire weather that followed.

Headers are working flat out in the central region, with a daily site record broken at Bowmans.

The eastern zone is just gearing up with Frances recently taking its first delivery for the season.

Viterra western region operations manager Nick Pratt said the group had loaded its first new crop export vessel for the season out of the port of Thevenard.

In Western Australia, it was also the biggest week for the year, with CBH taking 1.9 million tonnes.

CBH general manager of operations Ben Macnamara said over 2m tonnes of wheat had been delivered all up.

The northern harvest is beginning to wind up in the Geraldton and Kwinana zones with the focus switching to Albany and Esperance.

The northern Geraldton zone has struggled with drought, but quality has been good.

The first vessel is expected to leave Albany, in the south, this week.

It is expected grain will still head from the west to eastern Australia, although Mr Lotz said there may be a lag time as the market tried to assess total supply and demand.

"We have seen some grain produced in areas such as the Riverina and buyers are just trying to get a sense of what is where and where is the best spot to source it from."

James Maxwell, Australian Crop Forecasters, said overall crop production appeared to be in line with initial projections.

"Perhaps parts of WA are slightly better than the farmers expected and certainly southern Victoria looks set to be quite good in spite of a lack of spring rain, but overall it is around what people expected."

The story Aussie harvest hits full swing first appeared on Farm Online.



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