WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — The CBH Group 2017-18 harvest has been completed with a total of 13.23 million tonnes of grain delivered.

CBH noted initial harvest estimates for the season ranged between 9.5 million tonnes and 10 million tonnes. Good finishing rains prompted the figure to be revised twice during the season.

The 2017-18 harvest season ended with several broken records across Western Australia for the co-op.

Twenty-two receival sites broke their best one-day receival record while 14 receival sites recorded their best harvest season. Most of the record breaking sites were located within the Albany and Esperance Zones, and toward the southern end of the Kwinana Zone.

The 100 Network Strategy sites received 96% of the total crop — an increase from the 94% last year.

David Capper, general manager of operations, said the harvest had turned out to be an above average season with total grain volumes surpassing expectations.

“We were expecting much lower volumes given the dry winter in Western Australia,” Capper said. “However, the good finishing rains that came in September and October pushed our total crop estimate almost 40% higher than our estimates earlier in the season.”

The Esperance Zone achieved another record breaking harvest with 2.83 million tonnes delivered — up from 2.7 million tonnes last year. Seven sites within the zone broke daily receival records, while the Munglinup, Shark Lake and Lake King receival sites reached new seasonal records.

The Geraldton Zone received a total of 1.56 million tonnes, with 80% of the harvest received in five weeks. This compared to the average harvest of approximately 80 days. Four sites in the zone received 80% of the zone’s total grain delivery.

The Albany Zone received a total of 3.23 million tonnes and the Kwinana Zone received 5.6 million tonnes.

Capper noted that in the 2017-18 harvest there were a number of events that tested CBH’s network.

“The 2017-18 harvest was punctuated by frequent short periods of wet weather, which was frustrating for growers,” he said. “In addition, a number of other factors, including the significant increase in the crop estimate and very low harvest shipping tested our supply chain.”

Capper attributed CBH’s success to growers willing to work with co-op.

“However in most cases the network was agile and efficient in getting the grain safely into storage as demonstrated by the new records,” Capper said. “There were some sites that struggled under the pressure of significantly higher deliveries than they were prepared for and we’d like to thank growers for working with us at those sites to get the crop in.”

Following harvest, grain is transported through CBH’s road and rail network to port sites and onto ships to export to customers worldwide. The shipping program is expected to ramp up in the coming months.