WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — Western Australia’s grain harvest for the 2010-11 season is underway after two tonnes of canola was delivered to the CBH Group’s Geraldton Terminal on Oct. 8.

CBH General Manager Operations Colin Tutt said to-date, around 500 tonnes has been received at the Geraldton Terminal and the CBH Group’s Metro Grain Centre in Forrestfield, Perth.

"We’ve received deliveries of canola and lupins so far and deliveries of cereal grains are likely to start coming in the Geraldton Zone in the next week," Tutt said. "Given the dry conditions this season, we’ve continued to downgrade the estimate in the lead up to harvest with the current forecast for this season’s total crop being 5.9 million tonnes."

Current estimates per port zone are as follows;

Geraldton — 1.4 million tonnes;

Kwinana — 1.6 million tonnes;

Albany — 1.4 million tonnes; and

Esperance — 1.5 million tonnes.

Tutt said that if accurate at harvest, this would make it WA’s second smallest crop in the last 20 years.

"Our five year harvest average is 10 million tonnes," Tutt said. "At this stage we’re looking at taking in just over half this average and we are well behind last season’s 11.3 million tonne crop. The Esperance zone is shaping up to have a fairly good season with the current estimate falling slightly short of the 1.6 million tonnes the zone received last harvest.

"Growers in the Kwinana port zone and in the northern end of the Albany zone have been the most affected by the lack of rainfall with the Kwinana zone likely to be around 3 million tonne short of the crop delivered in the zone last season."

As a result of the poor season, the CBH Group is estimating that around 100 receival sites will be impacted this harvest with many sites not opening for deliveries or will be operating for only very limited services. For this reason, the CBH Group is taking certified grower receivals at its Kwinana Port Terminal this harvest and CBH is encouraging growers in the Kwinana zone to deliver directly to port, where feasible.

"This will be the first time that we’ve opened up the terminal to this extent for grower receivals," he said. "Growers will need to certify their deliveries and register their details with the Kwinana Terminal prior to delivery so that they receive the necessary site and safety information before delivery. Receival services will be limited at the terminal, however, we will advise those growers who are registered to deliver to the terminal of the site services for the following day. Growers wishing to register to deliver to the Kwinana Terminal should phone 9591.5133."

Tutt said he is encouraging all growers to stay in touch with their local area managers at harvest for the most up-to-date information on site and service availability.