Good prices for WA growers this year
The winter months in WA have been, for most regions, favourable after a dry summer and late May break. The entire Geraldton port zone, the west Kwinana zone and the west half of the Albany zone have had sufficient rainfall and now have excellent yield potential. In the southern districts, pasture feed is still tight but will improve quickly as the spring flush commences.
Most of the Esperance region is experiencing just an average season, with the first good rain event of the year occurring in early August. The east Kwinana zone is still looking for a good soaking but rain to date has been enough to show promise of an average crop.
The concerning region is the east Albany region, east and south of Lake Grace and much of the south coast from Albany to Ravensthorpe. Rainfall has been sparse and constant strong winds from April have caused extensive soil erosion. Crop potential is below average at best. Stating the obvious, spring weather needs to be damp, cool and extended for many to get a decent harvest.
Reflecting the generally very good season was the August Crop Report from GIWA suggesting WA could harvest around 15.5 million tonnes of grain in 2018. Plenty can go wrong of course with the weather, but such a forecast shows the courage of conviction shown by WA growers in planting most, if not all, of their crop dry. It’s a big gamble but it looks to have paid off this year.
The other exciting prospect for harvest is grain prices. Mostly on the back of the drought in the eastern states, prices are at excellent levels. Even where there is only an average yield it looks likely that the financial returns will be very good.
Of the many events recently that I have attended, the most significant was the opening of the new Liebe group office in Dalwallinu in August. The vision and drive of the Liebe members to achieve their own purpose-built office is worthy of mention. The office itself provides community benefits but most importantly provides resources and laboratory rooms for visiting research staff to collect and process samples efficiently. Well done to Liebe in their 19th year!