Grain receivals continued strongly throughout NSW and Victoria over the festive season, with over two million tonnes of grain received since the last GrainCorp harvest update, making it one of the busiest holiday receival periods on record and a great result for farmers in the Parkes and Forbes regions.
Dry and warm weather conditions saw strong harvest activity throughout southern NSW and Victoria, particularly in the Parkes, Temora, Junee and Cunningar regions, in southern NSW, and in the Wimmera, Central Victoria and north east regions of Victoria.
The drier and warmer conditions also helped growers in northern NSW harvest their remaining crops.
The receival activity from this area is now starting to wrap up, with growers looking ahead to summer cropping opportunities.
Significant grain out loading program also continued across the entire network over the festive season, with strong domestic and export orders creating capacity for more receivals.
This is expected to be sustained throughout January, with up to 300,000 tonnes of grain out loaded per week.
This week's GrainCorp update, released on January 10, indicated rain and storm events resulted in slower movements throughout NSW, though harvest activity is expected to continue for another few weeks.
GrainCorp's Parkes cluster, which includes Caragabal, Parkes, Peak Hill, Red Bend and Trundle, is currently at over 530,000 tonnes of grain for the season so far.
The 530,000-tonne figure is actually fairly close to where we were at this time last year, which was about 560,000 tonnes, noting there are probably more deliveries still to come as it's a later run this season.
Some sites open by appointment only now - growers are encouraged to communicate with local site and area managers regarding opening hours, deliveries, and segregations.
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Nicholas Robertson from the Australian Wheat Board said it has been a memorable harvest season for farmers.
"As 95 per cent of the harvest is now complete, most farmers are taking a well-earned break - which is natural at this time of year," he said.
"But the amount and significance of rain falling during January won't be lost on growers as they start looking towards the 2022-23 cropping program.
"The 2021-22 season will be remembered for a long time into the future by not only farmers, but by most of those involved in the wider grains industry.
"The relentless and widespread harvest rains have presented an operational challenge for farmers trying to harvest the crop, but also - unfortunately - downgraded a substantial portion of what would have otherwise been good quality grain," said Nicholas.
Nicholas also said there is plenty to think about for growers ahead of the next cropping season.
"Looking forward to 2022, despite some very good rain throughout most of NSW and sub-soil moisture being close to full, there are some headwinds facing farmers as they approach this year's cropping program," he said.
"The rising costs of chemical and fertiliser remains a significant challenge for farming profitability in 2022, and no doubt will have an impact on farmer paddock plans and selling patterns.
"What remains to be seen is whether the "doubling" of input costs will see farmers stray from the scheduled rotation, or choose to plant more pulses to reduce the amount of fertiliser required - or, instead, choose to reduce the overall cropping area.
"Internationally, the two ever-present factors of weather and COVID-19 continue to play a big part in price direction in offshore markets," said Nicholas.
So to all our local farmers, we hope you are able to put your feet up and enjoy a nice, cold beer and look back on the 2021-22 harvest soon!
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