CRACKING CROP: In one of the final paddocks of Trojan wheat they had to reap on Tuesday were Warooka croppers Nathan Paull and Will Murdoch.

Stop-start harvest nears end

RECEIVALS into SA’s storage and handling system have reached 5.6 million tonnes as the state’s harvest winds up.

RECEIVALS into SA’s storage and handling system have reached 5.6 million tonnes as the state’s harvest winds up.

Unfortunately for croppers with grain left to sell, high global stocks continue to keep prices down.

Viterra operations manager Michael Hill said most growers were finished for the season, with the company receiving 68,000t in the past week.

“These receivals were mainly centred around Port Lincoln, Cummins, Port Giles, Inner Harbour, Tailem Bend, Wolseley, Millicent and Dooen, Vic,” he said.

“This level of activity is normal for January, with the exceptions of the 2016-17 and 2010-11 harvests.”

Mr Hill said ongoing rain this season caused a few challenges.

“Despite these challenges, we’ve seen quality hold up reasonably well,” he said.

Exports had been steady out of Viterra’s six ports with more than 880,000t shipped so far and another 4.1 million tonnes of capacity booked until September. 

“Viterra’s container packing operations at Adelaide and Two Wells also have a strong schedule into the new year,” Mr Hill said.

Meanwhile, pulse deliveries at the AGT Foods Bowmans site started in late October and were virtually finished by mid-December.

AGT Foods Australia SA acquisition manager Leigh Wright said there were just a few chickpeas coming in just after Christmas. Mr Wright said Hurricane lentils were the main variety delivered, followed by Jumbo.

“We received more Monarch chickpeas, which are a large kabuli, this year than ever before,” he said.

With deliveries almost done and dusted, Ag Scientia analyst Lloyd George said unfortunately price signals were not looking promising, with the world awash with grain stocks at the moment.

“The United States Department of Agriculture released a supply/demand report on Friday, which increased the size of the Russian wheat crop by 2mt to 85mt,” he said.

“That’s 12.5mt larger than last year, which was a record crop. The barley situation is a bit better, with export demand for Australian barley still strong, especially from China.”

Mr George said prices were still an improvement on the same time last year.

“The price for APW wheat out of Port Adelaide at the moment is $241/t and Feed 1 barley is $232/t,” he said.

 “The APW price is $18/t higher than the same time last year and the barley price is up $88/t.”

Canola prices had come off to about $490/t in recent weeks, with SA, Vic and WA yields higher than initially expected.

Warooka cropper Will Murdoch, who farms with his dad Richard and three full-time employees at Warooka, said while harvest started in mid-November, it had been very stop-start.

"We've been going for nine weeks, but we had three weeks off because of bad weather," he said.

“Considering the weather, the quality has been good, which is quite surprising.”

Mr Murdoch said wheat had been the top performer this season.

“Canola has been about the same as last year, and while the legumes are pretty pleasing, they are down on last year,” he said.

​Scepter, Mace and Trojan wheat were all sown this season, with Mr Murdoch saying Scepter had been a good performer in lighter country with Trojan better on heavier ground. He said a good start of 75 millimetres at seeding time helped set them up for the season.

“Those falls helped us get through a dry June,” he said.

“After that we managed to jag good falls at the right time.”

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