Bumper Grain Haul on Cards but Frost a Big Risk

WA’s grain crop is almost certain to be a bin-buster, with the forecast now sitting at just more than 20 million tonnes, and scope for further upside.  With almost a 9 million hectare harvest set to begin in lass than two months, the Grain Industry Association of WA is forecasting a 20.02mt haul – almost 30 per cent bigger than average.

Based on current crop growth, timing of crop development, subsoil moisture and the area planted, GIWA believes there could also be “significant upside” from here.  Crop report author Michael Lamond declined to put a figure on any possible upside, noting there were still big risks to reaching or exceeding current crop estimates.

Risks include frost and damage from mice and locusts.  A dire labour shortage looms, with farmers still waiting on a solution from the State and Federal governments to quarantine the 1000 northern hemisphere workers needed to bring in the crops.  GIWA said the favourable conditions had brought the increased risk of mice damage to canola and lupins, particularly in the northern area of the State, and locusts to all crops in eastern areas.    The continued loss of crop area to waterlogging and the capacity of the areas to recover before harvest will also have an impact on final tonnage in the areas worst affected.

Bulk handler CBH is putting emergency storage in place and is scrambling to recruit about 2000 casual workers over summer to receive the massive haul.