Region’s harvest looks good but no record

Patchy: Water logging from the wet winter and spring has reduced yields in the south-west’s canola crops. This year’swet winter has takenits toll on south-west canola crops but other crops are set to deliver above average yields.
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While farmers further north are looking forward to bumper crops, the excitement about the impending harvest in the south-west is more subdued.

Southern Farming Systems Hamilton coordinator Michelle McClure said water logging had ruined parts of some south-west canola crops.

“But where the crops have survived, they have grown very well,” Ms McClure said.

She said the variable outcome could mean that canola yields ended up close to average.

Tarrington farmer Brent Herrmann said he expected his 810 hectares (2000 acres) of canola would produce below average yields because of waterlogging insome areas.

Mr Herrmann said crop performance “was all over the shop”.

“We are seeing some of the best and some of the worst results in the same paddock,” he said.

Mr Herrmann said much of his canola crop had been windrowed but mostof it had escaped damage from last week’s winds.Rain prior to thewindsput some weight in the windrows to reduce the damage, he said.

Mr Hermann said his canola had been more affected by waterlogging than his 729 ha (1800 acre) wheat crop because it was in full flower when heavy rains hit in mid-September and put it under stress.

The longer season wheat crop was not as well advanced in September and had since grown well to promise an “above average”crop, he said.

AGRiSULTS agronomist Craig Henson of Dunkeld said the region’s wheat crops, whichwere due to be harvested from January, were shaping up to be ”the best crops for a long time”.

Some good crops of barley had also been grown, Mr Henson said.

“It’s the same everywhere. The wet areas are not yielding too well,” he said.

“We had too much rain.”

While cereals such as wheat and barley are expected to produce good yields, prices for feed wheat and feed barley were comparatively low, he said.

But Mr Henson said prices for canola were above average.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) hasreaffirmed its estimates of a recordnational wheat harvest this season, at 32.6 million tonnes, up 35 per cent on last year’s harvest.

​The nation’s total harvest of all key winter crops is estimatedat 52.4 million tonnes, including a record-breaking 10.6 million tonne barley crop and the third-biggest canola crop at 3.6 million tonnes.

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