Lower Eyre has successful harvest

The 2018/2019 harvest for the lower Eyre Peninsula has returned a good outcome.

HARVEST: The Lower Eyre Peninsula had a good outcome despite some hard-hitting weather this year.

HARVEST: The Lower Eyre Peninsula had a good outcome despite some hard-hitting weather this year.

Cummins Landmark agronomist Martin Chandler said the area was lucky to receive some unexpected rain throughout the year. 

“Leading into the start of 2018, those that had practiced summer fallow management had moisture available,” he said.

“Then in early May we had a fantastic opening rain followed by June long-weekend rains which enabled excellent establishment,” he said.

Mr Chandler said the dry spells in June and July suited the lower Eyre Peninsula because it allowed the crops to build a good sound base. 

He also said some places exceeded August records for rain.

“Things were well on track for being above average,” he said. 

In early October a major frost event affected wheat crops, however other crops such as barley and canola still fared well for harvest. 

“The affect of the frost varied from region to soil type, but it just took the top off (the wheat),” Mr Chandler said. 

International grain prices and domestic driven drought have also been contributing factors to the overall success of local harvests this year. 

Viterra’s latest harvest report stated nearly 324,000 tonnes of grain were received between December 17 and 30, bringing total receivals to over 1.8 million tonnes for the western region. 

Total receivals for the same period in the 2017/2018 harvest were just shy of 1.5 million tonnes. 

Viterra Operations Manager Michael Hill said harvest had started later than normal this year.

“Overall, quality has been generally good, particularly given the challenges of the season,” he said. 

“Despite challenging weather conditions, many growers indicated that they had higher yields than expected,” he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s senior climatologist Darren Ray said the area had seen above average rainfall compared to the rest of the state.

“The South East SA, Lower Eyre Peninsula and the West Coast did okay for rainfall compared to the average, but tended very dry elsewhere,” he said. 

“It is also worth noting September rainfall across the SA agricultural areas was lowest on record last year so that lack of rainfall at a key time would have reduced yields for many areas.”