Canola first cab off the rank as WA harvest kicks off

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CBH sampler Rosie Vlahov at CBH's Moonyoonooka site.
Camera IconCBH sampler Rosie Vlahov at CBH's Moonyoonooka site. Credit: Justine Rowe

WA’s grain harvest has begun in earnest, with about 800 tonnes of canola delivered to CBH bins in the Geraldton, Esperance and Kwinana Port Zones by Tuesday.

A 50-tonne load of canola delivered to CBH’s Moonyoonooka site, near Geraldton, opened the 2020-2021 grain harvest just before midday last Wednesday.

It was the same date and the same delivery site as last year, when harvest started off — with a 50-tonne load of canola delivered to Moonyoonooka from Mullewa.

This year, the first delivery came from a farm at Yuna, and was graded a top-quality CAG1 sample — the best-quality and highest-priced GM canola standard — paving the way for a further 350 tonnes to be delivered to Moonyoonooka, Carnamah, Nargnulu and Geraldton Grain Terminal by Tuesday.

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CBH Geraldton Port Zone manager Duncan Gray said canola deliveries would “trickle in” during the next few weeks before wheat, barley, and lupin deliveries ramped up at the end of October.

CBH sampler Ben Prunster at Moonyoonooka.
Camera IconCBH sampler Ben Prunster at Moonyoonooka. Credit: Justine Rowe

CBH normally takes its first Geraldton Port Zone delivery between October 4 and 10, with the port zone’s earliest start on record on September 16, 2016.

Mr Gray said farmers in the zone, which stretched from Binnu in the north to Marchagee in the south, were expecting an average harvest after below-average but well-timed rainfall.

“I think we will have a little bit less canola than normal, lupins might be a little bit above average, barley about average and wheat a little bit below average,” Mr Gray said.

“Crops north of Geraldton are looking relatively good, and Mingenew and Arrino are looking really good.

“Morawa is struggling a little bit, but it is remarkable that most growers are going to have an average year based on the low rainfall.”

CBH sampler Marshall Burton at CBH's Moonyoonooka.
Camera IconCBH sampler Marshall Burton at CBH's Moonyoonooka. Credit: Justine Rowe

The Grain Industry Association of WA has forecast a 2.16 million tonne harvest for the Geraldton Port Zone, and 2.39m tonnes for the Esperance Port Zone — but those figures will be revised tomorrow.

Harvest has also started in the Esperance Port Zone, with 46 tonnes of canola from a Varley farm delivered to CBH’s Chadwick site — near Esperance — on Friday. CBH Esperance Port Zone manager Mick Daw said the first load, which was graded CAG1, came about 10 days earlier than the normal October 20 start. Another 300 tonnes of canola, in five loads, was delivered to Chadwick on Tuesday and graded CAN1 (non-GM).

CBH Esperance Port Zone manager Mick Daw.
Camera IconCBH Esperance Port Zone manager Mick Daw. Credit: Countryman

“It is a little bit earlier than previous years, but it is not usual for Esperance to harvest in October,” Mr Daw said.

“Its earlier because there was no finishing rain and the crops have dried off. Towards the end of this week and early next week we will get more canola and barley come in.” Mr Daw said most of CBH’s Esperance Port Zone sites would be open by the end of October, with coastal areas Condingup, Esperance and Beaumont expected to yield the best.

“Unfortunately, northern areas around Grass Patch and Cascade are not as good and they haven’t had the same amount of rainfall to finish it off,” he said.

CBH’s Kwinana South and North Zones received their first deliveries on Tuesday, totalling 100 tonnes at Kellerberrin and Koorda.

CBH has encouraged growers to use the CDF app as much as possible to reduce COVID-19 risks.

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