Region top of the crops in final crop report

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Harvest in Frankland River.
Camera IconHarvest in Frankland River. Credit: Sam Beech/Sam Beech

The Grain Industry Association of WA has released its final crop report summarising the bumper 2020 grain harvest in the Albany Zone.

Farmers in the Albany Zone, which covers most of the Great Southern and stretches past Darkan in the west and Hyden in the north, harvested 3.82 million tonnes of grain, producing about 1m tonnes more than the Esperance and Geraldton zones.

After a dry year, the Statewide total finished at a remarkable 16.6m tonnes, worth more than $6 billion.

Yields for wheat, barley and canola in the Albany Zone were all higher than the WA average for the season, with lupins falling just below average.

The region produced the most canola in the State with the highest average yield of 2.07 tonnes per hectare.

GIWA crop report author Michael Lamond said the west of the Albany Zone had had an exceptional year. “The lack of waterlogging was the single biggest factor that impacted on the very high grain yield achieved in the region,” he said.

“Barley and canola crops returned the best paddock averages for growers ever.”

In the south of the zone, barley and canola crops were also described as “exceptional”.

“The season-saving rain in August and lack of waterlogging had the biggest impact on the final tonnage,” Mr Lamond said.

“There were still areas of frost in eastern parts and, whilst nowhere near as bad as in re-cent years, frost still caused significant yield loss in some crops.”

The east of the Albany Zone did not perform as well as other areas, with Mr Lamond noting “most growers got out of jail” with a mild finish to the season after a lack of growing-season rainfall.

He said barley area was down because of “grower reaction to the introduction of tariffs in China”.

“There was a distinct cut-off at about 160mm of growing season rainfall, where above this there was profit and below this a loss,” he said.

“The poorer areas were around parts of Hyden, Kalgarin, Pingaring and down to Lake Grace, where only 130mm- 140mm of growing-season rainfall fell.”

Overall, WA recorded its highest area ever cropped at 8.5m hectares.

Mr Lamond said it was a trend he expected to continue as sheep numbers dropped.

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