Christmas cheer for southern croppers

Grain yields above expectations through much of the south


Grain
Grain growers in Victoria, southern NSW and South Australia have been ripping into crops over the past week with many reporting a pleasant surprise in terms of yield.

Grain growers in Victoria, southern NSW and South Australia have been ripping into crops over the past week with many reporting a pleasant surprise in terms of yield.

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Southern croppers have received some unexpected Christmas cheer with yields coming in better than previously anticipated.

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GROWERS are reporting yields above pre-harvest visual assessments through much of eastern South Australia and western Victoria.

These higher than anticipated yields will go part of the way to negating losses caused by frost and harvest rain.

“Things have generally been better than expected across much of Victoria,” said Lachie Stevens, Lachstock Consulting.

“In eastern SA that is probably also the case, although areas north and west of Adelaide have been fairly dry.”

In Victoria, Mallee farmer Terry Kiley, Nandaly, said in spite of frosts and dry spells the season had been strong overall.

“The legumes were just average, a little bit of a frost and a little bit dry, but the cereals were very solid.”

Mr Kiley said wheat yields were better than last year, where many Australian producers took off their best crops ever, with an average around three tonnes a hectare, compared to 2.7t/ha last year.

Barley yields were also above 3t/ha.

The results in cereals could have been even better but for patches of frost, although the paddocks with frost have had the highest quality grain.

Mr Kiley said the Mallee as a whole had recorded a reasonable season, although a severe frost in the Manangatang district had lowered overall production.

Further south in the Wimmera farmers have been thrilled with canola yields, with many of the better crops coming in at over 3t/ha with good oil levels.

Nick Crundall, Market Check domestic markets and pools manager, said yields and quality were up in southern zones, making up for some of the disappointing yields in northern NSW and Queensland.

He said WA had a similar north-south divide, with a poor season in the north and good yields in the southern regions.

Mr Crundall said Victoria had been a surprise packet.

“The yields and the protein we are seeing from the Victorian crop have been impressive.”

“In general, growers that have not been impacted by frost are reporting yields slightly better than they expected and the protein is good too.”

South Australian farmer Mark Hill reported a solid, average season.

After wrapping up harvest today (Tuesday), Mr Hill said he was pleased with the results, given the season.

“It was all or nothing with the rain, we had no rain in the late autumn and early winter, then a really wet July and August,” Mr Hill, who farms at Tarlee, in the Lower Mid North, said.

“September was hot and dry and then we had a bit of late October rain.”

“Overall, the yields were reasonable for the rainfall deficit and the quality has held up in spite of harvest rain, further north, towards Clare, there are more issues with downgrading.”

“We’ve had better years, but we’ve also had a lot worse.”

Grain continued to pour into the bulk handling systems in the south, although Mr Crundall said he expected this to slow soon.

“We’d expect harvest is probably 80-90 percent completed by now.”

GrainCorp had a monster week last week, taking in 1.1 million tonnes of grain, or over 20pc of its total receivals of 4.9m tonnes for the season.

Of that, 813,000 tonnes were taken in Victoria, with the majority of the remainder coming from the NSW Riverina.

Viterra also recorded its biggest week of harvest, taking in over 1.2m tonnes through its South Australian network with total receivals now at 4.8mt.

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