Australian harvest one of biggest, most challenging

by World Grain Staff
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WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — The Western Australian 2011-12 harvest continues to shape up as one of the biggest and most challenging in years, with many sites breaking their daily receival records, CBH said on Dec. 4.

By Dec. 1 state receivals had surpassed the entire receivals for last harvest of 6.5 million and showed no signs of slowing, CBH said.

To date around 60% of the state’s estimated tonnages have been received.

Receivals by zone to date are as follows:

  • Geraldton, 2,500,000 tonnes;
  • Kwinana, 3,480,000 tonnes;
  • Metro Grain Centre, 30,500 tonnes;
  • Albany, 1,153,000 tonnes;
  • Esperance, 1,050,000 tonnes; and
  • Total receivals for the state: 8,200,000 tonnes.

Harvest in the Geraldton Zone has again been very busy and productive, CBH said. Last week has seen the zone receive around 570,000 tonnes mainly made up of wheat and lupins.

Geraldton Zone Manager Duncan Gray said receivals are currently sitting on 2.5 million tonnes with around 70% of estimated crop in the bin, making the 3.2 million tonne target look very achievable. Geraldton Zone’s previous harvest record of 2.6 million tonnes set in 2003-04 is expected to be surpassed soon.

“Over the week we have seen the north of the zone start to slow a little and all sites in the southern part of the Geraldton zone picking up heavily,” he said. “As we get further into harvest some storages and sites will close, as we have already seen with five sites now full and closed. The grain quality has again held very firm across the zone which is very pleasing and hopefully this trend can continue until the end of harvest.”

The Kwinana Zone is now starting to hit its peak with many growers now finishing canola and barley harvesting and moving into their wheat programs.

Kwinana Zone manager Brett Jeffrey said yields and quality are generally holding well with most sites achieving high percentages of milling grades.

“There have been 17 sites across the zone that have broken daily receivals records to date with the expectation that there will be more records set in the coming two weeks, all this despite Falling Number machines slowing throughput at sites,” Jeffrey said. “There are some sites in the zone that are coming under segregation space pressure with some filling and closing until space can be made to open the services again.

“It is important that growers keep in touch with their local area managers for the remainder of harvest for the most up-to-date information on site and service availability.”

It has been a busy week for the Albany Zone with some 590,000 tonnes received in the past seven days.

Greg Thornton, CBH Albany Zone Manager, said the zone has now received 1.15 million tonnes and is on target to achieving its 2.5 million tonne estimate.

“Throughput at sites is coming under pressure as more growers start on wheat. The testing through Falling Number units is required in an effort to determine and upgrade grain to milling qualities,” he said. “Despite this a number of sites have broken daily receival records across the zone, including Hyden, Kukerin, Lake Grace, Dumbleyung, Katanning, Borden, Gairdner and Wellstead.”

Once again the Esperance Zone has been plagued by high moisture issues. Esperance Zone Manager Mick Daw said high moisture services were opened, which has enabled growers to get going a bit earlier.

“As mentioned last week, most growers have finished their canola and are well on to their wheat or barley,” Daw said. “While we are getting grain across all grades the quality has generally been improving. We have now received more than 1 million tonnes with around 300,000 tonnes of that being delivered in the last week.”

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