Yields low but quality high

Done: A small harvest meant there were no logistical issues with unloading and handling of grain at GrainCorp receival sites that were seen in 2016.
Done: A small harvest meant there were no logistical issues with unloading and handling of grain at GrainCorp receival sites that were seen in 2016.

With the 2017 winter harvest for the region finished GrainCorp reported that in NSW about two million tonnes of grain was harvested.

That’s a little more than a third of the previous winter harvest which was 6.5 million tonnes.

Last week’s GrainCorp harvest update showed receivals for NSW were 6000t for a total of 2,067,000t, while in Queensland 250t topped up the 556,750t total and Victoria, in the final stages of winter harvest had 49,000t in receivals for a total of 2,908,500t.

The entire GrainCorp network has taken a little over 5.5 million tonnes of grain – mainly wheat, but also barley, canola and chickpeas – from the three eastern states for the season.

The GrainCorp harvest update stated that frost had significantly impacted yields across some areas of Victoria.

The focus for the business will transition to post harvest activities and out-loading to domestic and international customers.

GrainCorp northern regional manager for NSW Andrew Holly said while yields were down, the overall quality was good despite the very challenging growing season with very little in-crop rain.

It was driest to the west where many crops didn’t make it to harvest – being fed off or baled – while pockets of frost heavily damaged canola crops.

“The rain at harvest did interrupt it a bit but it didn’t interfere with quality.”

“The prime hard wheat quality was outstanding – some of the best we have seen,” he said.

The small harvest also meant there were no logistical issues with unloading and handling of grain that were seen during the previous year’s record winter harvest.

The focus for northern NSW is now on sorghum, Mr Holly said, with the earliest crops around Quirindi set to be stripped soon, thanks to the extremely hot weather.

“Some sorghum will [come in] after Australia Day, which is extraordinary,” Mr Holly said. “At Quirindi we could be taking sorghum in the next three weeks.”

ABARES cut estimates last in its Crop Report last September to a forecast of around 7.3 million tonnes for NSW, largely reflecting a fall in yields from the record highs of 2016–17.