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Harvest Record in Western Australia

03 January 2014

AUSTRALIA - West Australian grain farmers have just finished harvesting a record breaking crop.

It's been a remarkable turn-around for many farmers who, at one point, were looking like not having a crop to harvest at all, reports ABC Rural.

So far Western Australian farmers have delivered 15.6 million tonnes of grain to the state's grain handler, Cooperative Bulk Handling, with more grain still expected.

The largest harvest before this season was in 2011 when just over over 15 million tonnes was delivered.

Apart from breaking records, this year has also delivered a mixed bag; while farmers in WA's southern grain belt have had one of their best seasons in history, in the north eastern grain belt it's been a dismal year.

But for farmers like Gary Shabolt, who farms at Mukinbudin which is about 300 kilometres north east of Perth, it's been a remarkable harvest.

Not for the tonnes that he has stripped, but for the fact that he has harvested at all.

After an excellent set up to the year with summer rain and showers after seeding to get the crop out of the ground, the rain stopped and it looked like the season was over by July.

"It never rained," he says.

"It was looking quite grim, I guess amongst the younger farmers they had given up hope and even a lot of the older farmers said they had never seen it so dry at that time of the year."

But then at the end of July the rain started falling, and the region experienced good falls for the rest of the crop growing season.

In the Mukinbudin Shire yields averaged between .6 of a tonne to two tonnes, but Gary Shadbolt says any harvest at all was welcomed given the bleak outlook in July.

"All of the older farmers in the area, and I'm talking 80 odd year old men, they said they'd never seen a season like it before."

Cooperative Bulk Handling's Duncan Gray says the turnaround in the season in shires like Mukinbudin and other regions in the state has seen grain totals boosted and WA's harvest record broken.

"From about the 18th of July we were all looking skywards thinking hopefully it's going to rain soon, otherwise it's going to be an absolute debacle of a season, but it's just turned around remarkably throughout the state."

TheCropSite News Desk

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