Rainfall puts back start of harvest

Lisa MorrisonAlbany Advertiser

The start date for harvest in the Albany zone has been pushed back after widespread heavy rainfall across the region.

Last week, CBH predicted the first deliveries of grain would be received yesterday, but its sites across the zone remain closed.

CBH Albany zone manager Greg Thornton said he anticipated harvest would now start in late October, after 25mm of rainfall was recorded near Kojonup and 125mm was recorded near Lake Grace over the weekend.

“That has put a bit of a dent on the start of harvest and will have an impact on both yield and quality,” he said.

“We won’t really know the extent of the impact until harvest gets under way.”

Before downpours across the Great Southern and other growing areas, the Albany zone was expected to contribute 3.5 million tonnes of grain to WA’s total production estimate of 13.7 million tonnes after last year’s record-breaking harvest.

Mr Thornton said that estimate would now be reduced.

The Esperance zone was predicted to produce 1.6 million tonnes, the Kwinana zone 6.5 million tonnes, and the Geraldton zone 2.1 million tonnes, according to CBH.

The Grain Industry Association of WA’s crop report for October slated Albany to produce 1,738,000 tonnes of wheat, 1,231,000 tonnes of barley, 581,000 tonnes of canola, 226,000 tonnes of oats, 18,000 tonnes of lupins and 5000 tonnes of field pea, but Mr Thornton said these figures were also likely to be reduced.

“Albany zone are still looking at a very good harvest, but this rain will delay the start and potentially affect yield and quality,” he said.

“We have had some reports of hail and large rainfalls in some areas of the wheatbelt, so the total harvest for WA will be affected by those seasonal conditions as well.”

Mr Thornton said he expected to have a better indication of the extent of damage to the quality of Albany growers’ harvest after seeing samples of grain yesterday.

“We have also had some rail from Albany out to Lake Grace cancelled while assessments of the track are being made,” he said.

“We do not anticipate any major delays at this stage.”

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