Monday, November 12, 2012

Harvest Gaining Momentum

Apart from the odd interruption from showers in CQ, the QLD harvest has enjoyed a uninterrupted harvest. Thanks to the tight end to the year, the overall harvest is well ahead of last year (when it was estimated at 50% complete).  Most of the southern QLD crop will now be in the bin, with the rush on before the rain event over the weekend that washed out day 2 of the cricket at the GABBA! Highlights from the harvest so far, good quality chickpeas, with the biggest ever crop expected for QLD. Low protein wheat (ASW) is still making up a large % of overall receivals, with APH pegged at 10% (51% in 09/10). Overall yields have held up well considering the 100mm deficit over the last four months. Moisture is needed soon for the sorghum crop (25 to 25mm in Nov), after it was sown dry and little rain received so far.

The northern part of NSW has enjoyed an uninterrupted harvest to date.  Further rain now will be of little value for the majority of the winter crop, with barley quality most at risk with the heavy rain received last week in southern NSW.  Harvest is estimated at 25% complete in the Newcastle zone, with regions north of Moree just about done. Wheat quality is favouring is favouring ASW/APW, while feedback from growers that APH is rare. Like wheat, barley has been plagued by low protein as a result a large percentage is in the bin. Further south the wheat harvest is slowly ramping up, with canola dominating receivals. Oil content has ranged from 44 in Temora to 46 in Coleambally.

In Victoria, harvest has kicked off throughout the northern fringes of the state, with canola domination receivals. Still early days for barley, however the early signs are not good (mainly feed) coming off in the Northern Mallee. Yields have been reported between 0.3 -0.5t/ha, however this will increase as harvest rolls into the southern Mallee. Oil content for canola has ranged from 41.8% in Ouyen to 44% in Quambatook. Wheat harvest is some time off, however the low protein that has plaque most of NSW and QLD isn’t expected to affect  VIC. Good to excellent yields are expected from most of the Wimmera, with yields ranging between  3—5t/ha. Only southern regions will now benefit from future rainfall, however dry conditions (albeit relatively mild temperatures) are forecast.

With much of SA missing out on rain over the last couple of days and temperatures warming up volume will start coming in rapidly (albeit at the smallest crop since 08/09). Last week Viterra estimated that 202kt entered warehouse, a 20% increase from last year’s pace. Wheat is only making up a small percentage of receivals, so still too early to get a picture of quality, but early accounts it is high protein. There has only been trickling of barley and canola in the eastern regions of the state. In the Western EP, the fruits of a bad year are being reaped now, with yields averaging (0.6t/ha). Further west (Wirrulla) it is a lot worse with barley only going 0.2t/ha. However quality has been high with H1 and H2 wheat and little to no screenings. Further south in the more reliable country yields are holding up well.

It has been nothing short of plagues of biblical proportions for the WA wheat belt this year. Either dryness lingering all year, combined with frosts, hail and even flash flooding at the end of the growing season have transpired in reducing this year’s crop. But every cloud has a silver lining, with high test weight, protein (15.5%) and low screenings have been dominating receivals. Harvest quickly recommenced after the heavy showers that passed through at the start of the month. The vast “Midlands Region” which accounts for about 50% of sown area in the state, conditions are diverse. With the exception of crops on very heavy ground (0.5t/ha), most crops are forecast to yield around 1.t/ha from Muckinbudin right down to Lake Grace. Around York there are some great crops (4 – 5t/ha), however these are the anomaly! Good yields are being reported in the Esperance zone.

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