GrainCorp storage and logistics general manager Nigel Lotz said harvest receivals had hit 12 million tonnes, nationally.
In Victoria, GrainCorp’s received 3,739,400 tonnes of grain, into its depots.
The Victorian silos included Charlton, Elmore, Murchison East, Carwarp, Speed, Wycheproof, Boort, Quambatook, Nhill and Warracknabeal. “This is the biggest winter harvest since 2010/2011, where our network received 12.3 million tonnes by the same time,” Mr Lotz said.
“The planning and resources needed to scale up by over 60 per cent compared to last year posed some challenges,” Mr Lotz said. “In recent years, our focus has been on developing larger and more efficient country silos that provide better turnaround times and more segregations for growers.”
Prior to the harvest, GrainCorp spent $21 million on improvements, including new stackers and upgrading existing bunkers and equipment. GrainCorp Victorian regional manager Peter Johnston said the harvest was “going to be right up there. It’s been delayed with weather events, but in Victoria, it should be wrapped up by Australia Day,” Mr Johnston said. “The yields have been very good and the quality is improving, as we push further through the season.”
He said the late spring had resulted in some stoning in barley, which had gone feed grade, but there was a higher proportion of malt barley than had originally been expected. “I think there was a fair degree of apprehension as to how such a large harvest would move through the network,” Mr Johnston said.
“We continue to invest irrespective of the season, agriculture is a long play, it’s not a year by year proposition. This year, we were very happy with the storage capacity and the rate of elevation, we had more elevation capacity than we have ever had.
“There is more crop, by acre, than we have seen in a long time, it’s not uncommon to be taking off seven tonnes a hectare, which is approaching European type yields.”
Moolert farmer Simon Coutts said he had 2000 hectares under canola, oats, barley and wheat.
“It was all very good, it probably would be a record, with canola at two to three tonnes a hectare, wheat between five and six and a half, barley and oats, at six to seven tonnes,” Mr Coutts said.
“The quality has been exceptional. It’s been a pretty long harvest, but that’s the way we like it – headers are going a bit slower than normal, because of the size of the crop.”
Culgoa’s Reid Mather said he had a good year, from grain and pluses on his 2000ha property.
“I had losses like everyone else, with grain on the ground, because it rained so much, but I think people will generally be happy,” he said.
“There’s an enormous amount of nutrition that’s come out of the soil, that’s got to go back.”
Mr Mather said many farmers saw yield returns which were better than originally anticipated.
“It’s the difference between hope and faith; hope is when you buy a Tattslotto ticket, and you hope are going to do all right.
“Faith is a long-term thing, you think you are going to get there. I think faith was a little bit jaded, towards the end.”
He said the biggest frustration was yields were good, but croppers were being “burned on price.”