December 29, 2008


West Australian grain harvesting may continue until February 2009


A rain-delayed harvest of winter grains including wheat in Western Australia is more than three-quarters complete but likely will not end until February, Cooperative Bulk Handling Ltd. (CBH) reported Monday.


CBH has now received 10.2 million tonnes into its statewide storage system, up 900,000 tonnes from a week ago.


The harvest is all but finished in northern areas, where CBH's system in Geraldton zone could yet receive record tonnages, but remains well behind normal in southern areas due to rain delays, according to the company's weekly harvest report.


CBH owns Western Australia's upcountry grain storage and export network and expects to receive about 12 million tonnes of winter grains this harvest, well above the 2007 harvest of 8.5 million tonnes, but down from a record of 14.7 million tonnes in 2003. About 70 percent of the total is usually wheat and 20 percent barley.


In the Geraldton zone, the intake has exceeded 2.5 million tonnes, with zone manager Duncan Gay expressing confidence receivals will break a record 2.6 million tonnes when the harvest finishes in the next week or two.


In CBH's southern Albany zone, the harvest continued its slow pace and is only 54 percent done, with high moisture levels in the morning preventing growers from making much progress in stripping their crops, zone manager Richard Simonaitis said in the harvest report.


The harvest in the Albany zone likely will continue until the first week of February, making it one of the slowest harvests on record, he said.


High morning moisture levels are also delaying the harvest in CBH's southeast Esperance zone, said manager Mick Daw.

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