November 7, 2011


Western Australia's wheat harvest hit by heavy rain


Wheat harvest in Western Australia state has been halted by heavy rainfall over the past few days, raising concerns about grain quality, Kim Simpson, the president of the Grains Council of the Western Australian Farmers' Federation, said Friday (Nov 4).


The recent rain mostly fell in central and southern areas of the wheat belt and follows widespread rainfall last week that brought little benefit to southern crops and delayed the start of the northern harvest.


Heavy rainfall and flooding led to major downgrading of grain quality for a bumper crop on the east coast during the last harvest a year ago.


Crop prospects in Western Australia improved sharply with several rainfall events in October that helped generate high yields in early-harvested crops, Simpson said.


Western Australia's biggest grain company, Cooperative Bulk Handling Ltd (CBH), estimates grain intake into its upcountry storage system this year around 13 million tonnes, 70% of which is usually wheat, which would imply total wheat intake of 9.1 million tonnes.


As deliveries to CBH account for about 90% of total state grain production, total wheat output in the crop year ending March 31 may approach 10 million tonnes, second only to 11.1 million tonnes produced in 2003-04 and more than twice last year's drought-reduced wheat output of 4.7 million tonnes. Nearly all the wheat produced in the state is available for export.

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