GrainCorp storage and logistics general manager Nigel Lotz said harvest receivals had hit 12 million tonnes, nationally.
Record, or near record, receivals had been made at 26 silos, across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
In Victoria, GrainCorp’s final receival figures showed Victoria it had recieved 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.
“It’s really exciting to see some areas achieve high yields after extended drought, particularly north western New South Wales and western Victoria.
“Grain quality has also been good, especially across canola and wheat.”
Coonamble, New South Wales, was the largest silo, with nearly 400,000 tonnes of grain received.
Mr Lotz said Walgett (New South Wales) and Thallon (Queensland) received nearly 300,000 tonnes, while other silos, such as Warracknabeal and Quambatook (Victoria) were on the way to receiving close to 200,000 tonnes.
“The planning and resources needed to scale up by over 60 per cent compared to last year posed some challenges, however we were able to take full advantage of our network,” 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.
He said GrainCorps attention now turned to the export program.
“We have already moved over one million tonnes of grain from our silos to sub-terminals and ports,” he said.
“We have secured additional rail and road capacity to ship this grain, with the shipping stem heavily booked for the next six months.
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.
“Malt barley saw a premium of $20 a tonne over feed prices.”
He said the benefits of Project Regeneration, a $200 million program to improve grain recieval and handling, were starting to be felt.
“I think there was a fair degree of apprehension as to how such a large harvest would move through the network,” Mr Johnston said.
In Victoria, $80 million was being spent on Project Regeneration.
“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.”
He said water logging, after rain flooded some crops, didn’t appear to be an issue, as loss in yield was more than compensated for in areas which were unaffected.
Wheat was returning high protein levels, particularly in the Wimmera, where the growing season started later.
“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,” Mr Johnston said.
Moolert farmer Simon Coutts said he had 2000 hectares under canola, oats, barley and wheat.
“It was all very good, apart from a few tiny little wet spots, 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.”
He said he had not experienced many delays in getting the grain and pulses into storage.
“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.
He said a lot of grain was being sold, rather than stored, to ensure cash flow.
“To run a header, you need 500,000 litres of diesel, and there are other things you have to pay for, like tyres for your trucks, so I think people worked long, getting towards the end of it.
“We were really hanging out for this one.”
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 alright, faith is a long term thing and 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.”