Albany crop harvest in the unknown

The current crop projection for the 2021 season is 3.9 million tonnes. (Stock image)

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A crop report for the July 2021 harvest said the Albany Port zone is predicted to finish the season with an average crop tonnage of 3.9 million, despite the significant damaged from heavy rain in the Great Southern.

The report released by the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) said the Albany West and South zones were heavily impacted by rain, with some farms experiencing severe waterlogging.

“The greater impact however is general waterlogging across the whole region which has resulted in areas of crop death and areas that will require re-seeding when it dries out enough to get back on paddocks,” the report says.

“The zone is now very wet and with more rain to come over the next few days, significant loss of crop is expected from waterlogging,” the report said in regard to the Albany West zone.

Kojonup and Kendenup have had near record rainfall to date and much of the lower lying areas of paddocks have lost crop.”

Massive harvest predicted

Last year, the Great Southern region produced 3.8 million tonnes of grain and the current projection for the 2021 season is 3.9 million tonnes.

“Current tonnage estimates for the State are conservative as crops still have to make it through the inevitable frost that can shave off significant tonnage in the spring,” the report says.

Author Michael Lamond said the areas impacted by waterlogging were starting to become significant.

“Whilst we are still projecting around about the same amount of grain as last year, it’s probably likely to be less now because of the rain,” he said.

“It has been going beautifully up until the last couple weeks when the areas that were getting wet in the south Stirling’s and coastal regions didn’t look like they would have much impact, but it looks like it will now because it’s become so wet.”

Paddocks under water

Stirlings to Coast Farmers CEO Nathan Dovey said across the state, most grain growers were tracking well, however there were a few that had lost paddocks of harvest due to waterlogging.

“There are literally paddocks with lakes in them, so 100 per cent yield loss, in percentages of paddocks, which probably won’t recover,” he said.

“We’re hoping it really dries out and things will be quite good, but if it keeps raining it could be some below average yields for our immediate area close to Albany.”

The full report is available at https://www.giwa.org.au/wa-crop-reports/2021-season/giwa-crop-report-july-2021/ .

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