Grain harvest: South Australia crows about yields


SOUTH Australia is on track for a bumper grain harvest this year.

The Primary Industries and Regions of South Australia crop report released earlier this month tipped the state would harvest a record 6.3 million tonne wheat crop, up from the 6.06 million tonnes achieved in 2010-11.

PIRSA has also forecast the barley crop in South Australia will be 2.53 million tonnes this year, which is bigger than the 2.22 million tonne record in 2013-14.

Viterra said it received 894,642 tonnes of grain at its centres last week, bringing its year-to-date total to more than 2.2 million tonnes. Of that, 1.45 million tonnes has been rec­eived in its western region, 627,558 tonnes in the central parts of the state and 126,532 tonnes in the east.

Viterra group commercial manager Andrew Hannon said five sites — Thevenard, Lock, Rudall, Wudinna, Parilla — had broken their daily receival records, which reflected “the large harvest coming in”.

With the harvest well under way in the Eyre Peninsula in the west of the state, Ben Pope, who farms at Warramboo in the central Eyre Peninsula, said most in his area where half­way through.

He said wheat protein was up in the district with reports of Hard 2 protein being achieved and “yields are approximately 1 tonne/ha above average” — but barley quality was mixed.

He said canola also had some issues and they lost about 300kg/ha from wind damage in the oilseed crop.

Fifth-generation farmer Peter Barrie, from Wilmington near Port Augusta, started harvest last week and said, while yields were well above average at 3.5-4 tonnes/ha, screenings were high at about 8 per cent.

Mr Barrie has about 4000ha of crops planted this year, mostly katana wheat, but also 650ha of barley and 200ha of field peas. Wheat normally yields 1.5 tonnes/ha and barley 1.8 tonnes/ha.

“We had a late frost in Oct­ober when the heads were at grain filling,” Mr Barrie said. “You can pick the small shrivelled grain that the frost got, but to get through a season with nothing going wrong is unheard of. We don’t get the perfect season.”


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