According to an industry forecast from earlier in the season, Western Australia was predicted to produce about half of last year’s record crop. With grain crops across the state benefitting from late rain and cooler conditions in September there has been an overall increase to the state’s total estimate in this month alone by 12.4%. Refer to the below table “October 2017 GIWA WA Crop Production Estimates (tonnes)”.
From what was first thought to be an increasingly discouraging season Western Australia has been able to turn around with a few positives. Although cereal grain protein is likely to be lower than normal due to the unexpected soft finish to the season, Grain size and weight is likely to be very good due to these mild conditions and the minimal impact from frost.
There has been a significant turnaround with the Wheat and Barley predictions with tonnages now predicted to achiever closer to historical levels. Canola is also going to achieve closer to historical tonnages than first predicted, however, due to the season’s poor start and carrying right through to near on the end of the season, average yields are likely to be lower than normal. As a product of cooler temperatures during the grain fill period oil percentages are likely to be good. It is expected that with lupin tonnages down this season much of the production will be kept on farm. A similar result is predicted for grain and hay oat production. In contrast to previous seasons the frost impact has been very low, as a result we have seen alternative grain legumes being trialled across the state, although tonnages are still low at this stage.
It has been tipped by the Grains Industry of Western Australia (GIWA) that growers will harvest 11.5 million tonnes; down 37% on last year’s record 18.16 million tonnes but thankfully after two good rain events the outlook is looking brighter. The GIWA report states that the remainder of the state is now on track for close to average grain yields for all crops except for oats with the Esperance port zone expected to reap higher than average yields.
This season has been a rollercoaster right from the get go and it has been observed specifically that the younger farmers have been commended for their resilience in maintaining a positive outlook. It is important to remember that there are people that can help if it ever feels like the stress of the season is getting the better of you.
All the best to our West Australian Farmers this harvest!