Australian wheat harvest hampered by rain

by World Grain Staff
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WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — Australia’s wheat harvest has been hampered by wet weather, preventing growers from achieving a consistent run toward finalizing their harvest programs, CBH said on Dec. 9.
The Geraldton zone had a very mixed week, according to Geraldton Zone Manager, Duncan Gray, with 1,400,404 tonnes received thus far.
“Like most of the state, we had a couple of good days early in the week and then for last three days we were stopped with more rainfall events over the entire zone,” he said. “Currently we are sitting at about 1.4 million tonnes with 90% of the harvest complete.”
Gray said with Christmas fast approaching CBH will be working closely with those growers who are still harvesting.
“We ask any growers who will be still going after this time to communicate with Geraldton office so we can work with them to finalize their harvest,” he said.
CBH said total receivals are at 6,962,044 tonnes. Receivals at other zones include: Kwinana, 2,714,731 tonnes; Albany, 1,405,787 tonnes; and Esperance, 1,441,122 tonnes.
The Kwinana Zone had a frustrating week with only two days of the seven producing solid harvesting conditions, CBH said. As a result, only 587,000 tonnes were delivered for the week with almost 400,000 of that delivered prior to the rain.
Kwinana Zone Manager Brett Jeffrey said Falling Number units have now been set up in all prime sites, with load-by-load testing in three of the five areas within the Kwinana Zone.
“This is both a positive for growers in that we are protecting the value of the grain and a negative because it is taking longer to get back in the paddock to get more grain off before the next forecast rain,” he said. “Many sites in the zone are closing completely after the rain events to ensure we have adequate staff available to work when growers start harvesting again regardless of the day in the week.
“We encourage growers and transporters to ring and confirm site times with Area Managers or check text messages before they get in the truck particularly if they are carting to a site out of their normal area.”
Following a good start to the week, thunderstorms again interrupted harvest in the Albany Zone with rain falls ranging from 2 – 150mm.
CBH Albany Zone Manager Greg Thornton said strong winds following the rain will help crops dry out and allow harvest to quickly recommence, but have also produced some damage to crops and yields, particularly in canola and barley.
“Unfortunately more rain is forecast for next week which will place grain quality at risk of deterioration,” he said. “Falling Number machines are now in place at all sites to monitor quality for wheat, as some level of sprouting was already detected in some areas prior to this last rain event.”
Esperance Zone Manager Mick Daw, said the zone received less than 200,000 tonne for the week putting receivals for the year to 1,441,000 tonne.
“Many growers a have now finished harvesting and are carting the last of their grain into the system or are very close to finishing and hope to have it wrapped up the next few days,” he said.
“We expect to start closing some receival points next week and have closed all the community sample huts this week.”
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