Despite first delivery harvest still weeks away

HARVEST on the Lower Eyre Peninsula is expected to start in the next two weeks as the first grain delivery was made for South Australia on the Eyre Peninsula last week.

Viterra’s Kyancutta site received a load of peas on October 11, the first delivery made for the 2016/17 harvest season.

But for much of the state, spring rains have led to increased production forecasts but also a delay to the start of harvest.

Viterra operations manager for the Western region James Murray said while some pulses had been received, the cool, damp weather had generally delayed the start of harvest for most growers.

“Growers are telling us we’re a couple weeks later than normal,” he said.

“We expect harvest to get underway in the next two to three weeks, depending on the weather.”

This weekend was another wet one for the Lower Eyre Peninsula with up to 10 millimetres of rain recorded in Port Lincoln from 1am to 9am Sunday, followed by another four millimetres from 12.30pm to 1.30am Monday.

Cummins was similar with up to nine millimetres recorded between 1.30am and 9am Sunday.

Mr Murray said all Viterra sites would be ready for deliveries once harvest got into full swing.

He said preparations included adding an extra 38,000 tonnes of grain storage at Tumby Bay.

Work has started on the Tumby Bay expansion and is expected to be completed by next month.

Across SA, Viterra is preparing for a large crop and is currently building about 500,000 tonnes of additional storage.

Mr Murray said Viterra would also be prepared on the marketing side of harvest.

“New season grain exports are expected to start soon after harvest begins with export capacity at Port Lincoln allocated through long term agreements for the first time this year,” he said.

“Long term agreements benefit growers with multiple buyers competing to buy their grain.

“Demand from exporters to book capacity at Port Lincoln in particular was really strong.”

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