Harvest mixed bag

By Country News on January 04, 2016

The end of the 2015 harvest has shown a huge variation in yield across Victoria.

GrainCorp corporate affairs manager Luke O’Donnell said the company had recorded vast differences from region to region.

‘‘With some farmers you might have high-yielding output, and five minutes down the road you may have some weather damage,’’ he said.

‘‘From that point of view we have seen a huge variety.

‘‘We have worked with growers to offer the appropriate segregation, depending on the quality of growth growers are getting.’’

In Victoria, the harvest took in a total of 1.257million tonnes, which Mr O’Donnell said had been concentrated around the northern and southern Mallee areas.

‘‘There was a large variety from field to field, which is the result of drought condition affecting some areas as well as some storm damage,’’ he said.

WB Hunter field services manager and agronomist Graeme Talarico agreed with the variation in findings and said places around Shepparton, Dookie and Elmore would have struggled, while Yarrawonga and Corowa performed reasonably well.

He said the excessive heat in spring and lack of rainfall impacted this year’s harvest results.

‘‘Getting 35° heat in that first week of October made a big difference for what the grain yield would have been if we had not had the heat,’’ Mr Talarico said.

He said disease was not a massive issue for growers this year, but the lack of rain definitely contributed to some poor harvest results.

GrainCorp believes most farmers have completed their harvest, which has returned a below-average harvest in terms of volume, with wheat and barley performing well considering weather conditions.

In accordance with the huge range in yield, screenings in some areas have been high; however Mr O’Donnell said GrainCorp had seen good quality come out of other regions.

He said harvest was delayed by a couple of days due to weather this year, but it was too early to say if it had impacted on yield or quality.

Mr Talarico said the Victorian harvest could bounce back next year, but it all came down to what Mother Nature had in store, as well as planning and a bit of luck.

Meanwhile, the decision by the World Trade Organisation to abolish agricultural subsidies has been welcomed by exporters.

The Australian Export Grain Innovation Centre (AEGIC) has welcomed the agreement.

Centre chair Terry Enright said the removal of the subsidies should make Australia more competitive against most other grain exporters.

‘‘Australia has very low levels of subsidies compared to many of its major competitors, which means our growers have not been competing on a level playing field.

‘‘Australian grain producers have been feeling the cost-price squeeze for some time now, and having to compete with subsidised countries has been compounding this in terms of profitability and long-term viability.’’

By Country News on January 04, 2016
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