WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — The 2011-12 harvest on Jan. 16 broke the record for the biggest ever produced in Western Australia, with more grain still to come.

Deliveries on Jan. 16 pushed the state total to 14,700,000 to surpass the previous record set in 2003-04 of 14,695,321 million tonnes.

CBH Group General Manager Operations Colin Tutt said every zone has exceeded delivery expectations and the pre-harvest state forecast of 13.5 million tonnes.

“The knowledge that we have broken the record as the largest grain crop ever received in Western Australia is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved with the 2011-12 harvest which has really tested us all,” Tutt said.

”We have seen significant rain delays, quality issues requiring extensive use of Falling Number machines, bins filling and closing and challenges in moving grain to port.

“It is a great achievement to break the record and we would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to growers, our employees, transporters, shires, local communities and everyone else who has helped to get this harvest delivered.”

“Daily delivery records have been broken at 57 of our receival sites and more than half a million man-hours were worked in the month of December, including by around 2000 harvest casuals, twice the number CBH employed last year. Thankfully, 171 of the 181 sites that were operating this harvest also have handled this big crop without recording a lost time injury.”

Tutt said a huge challenge still lay ahead over coming months to move the big crop to port and, as a grower co-operative, CBH was determined to make sure it happened.

“It is timely that the state and federal governments took the decision last year to invest $350 million in the grain transport network,” he said. “It also shows the foresight of CBH Group’s decision to invest $175 million in new rail rolling stock, which will start to arrive over the next few months to be operated by new rail provider Watco. The need for improved rail transport performance has never been more important.”

The harvest is expected to continue in some areas until the final weeks of January, with around another 200,000 tonnes expected to be delivered.