High prices are making a huge difference for cereal, pulse and oilseed growers in the north-west of the state, on the back of an average to above-average harvest.
AgriBusiness Consulting Group assessor Marty Colbert said some growers in the region had finished harvest, while most expected to be completed by Christmas.
"This year is not far behind last year but it's the prices that have made the difference," Mr Colbert said.
"The prices are phenomenal, even for the lower grades."
He said in the west Wimmera, yields and quality had all been "a little bit more than expected".
"By the time you take into account slightly above-average yields and potentially an 80 per cent increase in prices, it's been a great year," he said.
He said hail storms, which hit the area in October, had affected some crops.
"The crops further to the south that were greener suffered far less impact and canola was a bit of surprise," he said.
"There was a bit of high-level damage with the seed in the pods not being knocked out, but being compromised.
"Regarding the frost, there was significantly more damage than people were expecting."
But despite the hail and frost, Mr Colbert said he expected four to six-tonne wheat yields a hectare in the Nhill area for Australian Prime White wheat, barley would also go 4-5t/h, while canola would reach 2-3t/ha.
He said faba beans "could go the 2-2.5t/ha and prices are going through the roof".
He said poor yields in Canada and Europe had pushed prices up.
"Our Australian marketers must have got caught with their pants down a bit, so they are trying to secure tonnage to satisfy the boats that are on they way," he said.
"They are desperately trying to find good quality wheat to mix with all the poorer stuff."
He said Victoria was sitting on "great quality grain", whereas "you only have to go past Moulamein, NSW, and Griffith, NSW, and it's all chook feed".
"It doesn't mean every farmer is going to buy a full leather-upholstered [Toyota] Hilux, and send all his kids off to the best private schools," he said.
"It just means we can brace ourselves for $1500/t fertiliser."
He said farmers were likely to achieve prices for canola of less than $950/t, just below $400/t for APW wheat and feed barley for under $300/t.
"November was the month that made us, a cold November was what made us," he said.
But he warned long-term weather patterns showed that the region would be in for a very good start, but "an absolute shocker from July onwards" as conditions dried out.
Peter Teasdale, Rupanyup, who is about halfway through his program, said he was expecting some frost damage to affect both yield and quality.
"There is plenty of grain there, just not quite as much as there could have been and some of it hasn't been quite as good," Mr Teasdale said.
The property had 70-100 millimetres of rain in January.
"The crops just never backed off, they just kept going on that 100mm of rain," he said.
Mr Teasdale said he was still undecided on how the crop would be marketed.
"I am not sure what to do, so I will do a bit of everything," he said.
Victorian Farmers Federation northern Mallee grains councillor Chris Plant, Manangatang, said crop yields went from below to slightly above average, depending on whether they were in cereal stubbles or fallow.
Mr Plant said no oaten hay was planted this year, due to the dry conditions, with growing season rainfall falling in the decile four band.
"We're happy with our pulses, but the barley was disappointing - it didn't seem to benefit from the later rains," he said.
"I've heard of some very low yields for barley, under 1t/ha for barley, but high prices will mean most farmers will have an above-average year financially."
Brian Barry, Manangatang, has harvested all of his cereals, lentils and legumes.
"The best way to sum up the year is that on the amount of rain we had, it was an amazing outcome," Mr Barry said.
The property had 127mm of rain during the growing season, after 20mm was received in the first five months of the year.
"We sowed the crop dry and we'd literally just got finished, and it started raining," he said.
"To counterbalance that, once we have finished with the year, our inputs for next year are frightening."
Further east, Bec Marshall, Normanville, said the family had just finished harvesting faba beans, part of a cropping program including wheat, barley, lentils, oaten hay and canola.
"We have been fortunate here, we have the lucky problem of higher than average yields and higher than average prices, which doesn't happen very often," Ms Marshall said.
She said lentils had returned 2t/ha, which was above average, with cereals yielding around 3.5-4t/ha.
"It was a funny season - we had a late break, so a lot of crop didn't come up until June - then we had a nice early winter, a bit of a dry pinch through early spring, then we were lucky to get that October rain."
She said lentils, wheat and canola then responded very well.
"Even the guys to the north of us, who didn't capture the bigger yields because they were a lot drier, still had a reasonable season," she said.
"We are looking to sell a bit now, it's not going to be a year to hang onto grain for too long."
Xavier Breen has been busy harvesting wheat on his Rainbow property, in the southern Mallee.
Mr Breen, who also farms at Nurcoung in the west Wimmera, said the early-sown variety had been mature enough not to be impacted severely by late-season frost like some Wimmera-Mallee crops.
"It's good, especially combined with the good prices, there's been some frost losses but when you look at NSW and what can happen it is all pretty spot on," he said.
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