WA harvest moving ‘too quickly’

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Harvest east of Cranbrook.
Camera IconHarvest east of Cranbrook. Credit: Liam Croy

After an early start, a string of good harvesting conditions and below-average yields, harvest is shaping up for one of the earliest finishes to date.

The latest CBH report noted that harvest was likely more than a quarter of the way through less than halfway through November.

The Grain Industry Association of WA also released its November crop report last week, noting that “harvest is now travelling too quickly for most”.

With all sites in the Albany Zone now open subject to demand, Gairdner has received the most tonnage.

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The Statewide season total delivered to CBH has passed three million tonnes.

CBH Group Albany Zone manager Adam Wray said receival sites had received substantially more grain compared with this time last year.

“To compare, by mid-November, 2018, CBH had received a total of 97,000 tonnes of grain, while by the same time in 2019, CBH had received around 700,000 tonnes of grain,” he said.

“As of Tuesday morning, more than one million tonnes had been delivered.

“Traditionally, harvest in the zone starts towards the end of October, however this year CBH received its first delivery in the zone on October 10 in the southern part of the zone, followed shortly after by the north-eastern region.

“Most growers within the zone would typically like to finish their harvest programs by Christmas and we would expect this to ring true across the vast bulk of the zone this year given the early start.”

The GIWA report estimates that the Albany Zone will produce 2.4 million tonnes of grain in 2019 — almost one million tonnes less than last year.

GIWA report author Michael Lamond said early indications for the Albany West zone were very promising, with barley and canola yielding as expected.

“The Lakes District is well into harvest, with most crops yielding as expected,” he said.

“Even though it was a low rainfall year, most crops escaped the frost and the region did not receive the heat in the spring as further north.

“The season has resulted in below-average grain yields for most, although not the very erratic results from paddock to paddock as in other areas of the State.

“(The Albany South area) grain yields vary a lot depending on soil type and topography.

“Barley grain yields are 20-30 per cent lower than expected as the frosts have had more effect than first thought.”

Statewide, the GIWA crop report estimates that grain tonnage will be around 25 per cent lower than the eight-year average of around 15 million tonnes. “A return of between 11 and 12 million tonnes of total grain will be a good result considering the low growing season rainfall, higher than average temperatures in spring and virtually no rain in September,” Mr Lamond said.

“Crop grain yields will pick up as harvest gets going in the southern regions and these areas will make up a bit of ground on the low yields returned so far, especially from areas north of the Great Eastern Highway.”

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