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Southern Mallee farmers are about two weeks into harvest, with many busy harvesting lentils and barley.
Meanwhile, Wimmera farmers, who traditionally start later in the season, are picking away at crops as they ripen and seeing early signs of quality produce.
Commercial grain company Shannon Bros, which operates grain receival sites at Beulah and Horsham, has reported outstanding quality from growers across the region.
Beulah site manager Mikayla George said lentils were coming in by the truck load, while other crops such as barley were slowly trickling into the site.
“We started getting busy about 10 days ago – in the past week, we’ve been averaging 2500 tonnes a day in receivals,” she said.
“We’ve had a lot from growers up north, in places such as Hopetoun, Rainbow and Jeparit, while farmers in Beulah are still waiting for the crops to ripen.”
Ms George said despite farmers contending with ‘harsh’ frosts late in the season, the crop quality outweighed her expectations.
She described the lentils as the best quality she had seen in her 10 years of sampling grain.
“The quality has been absolutely immaculate so far,” she said.
“The past month of rain really assisted in the ripening of the lentils, with majority of pods quite full on all lentil plants.”
The Beulah site has already pumped through 20,000 metrics tonnes of grain since harvest started in the southern Mallee in early November.
Ms George said based on the fact the receival site was handling more than 2500 tonnes a day, it was likely to fill up quickly.
“The farmers have been pleasantly surprised with how well they are yielding,” she said.
“We’re receiving and exporting at the same time this harvest.
“We’re exporting between 15 and 20 shipping containers full of lentils for overseas exports each day.”
Ms George attributed ‘timely’ rain to the high quality of crops.
“We had great rainfall throughout the season this year, which has probably been better than last year in regard to the timing,” she said.
“Last year we were a little bit slower in the important parts of the season, while this year, when we needed the rain, we got it – that has been a blessing.”
Ms George said weather permitting, she expected the harvest season would continue until mid-December for southern Mallee farmers.
Meanwhile, Horsham farmer Jeff Moore, who grows barley, canola, lentils, beans and wheat, is seeing promising results from crops he pulled off in the past few weeks.
Mr Moore has been busy harvesting his barley crop and started on his lentils in the past week.
“This is potentially the best lentil crop I’ve ever harvested,” he said.
“I’m predicting it will be a pretty good harvest this year. I’m expecting we’ll do better than last year.
“The only downfall is the prices for grain are fairly low, which could make a big difference to returns.”
Mr Moore said he was ‘pleasantly’ surprised with his yields so far, considering on-and-off rain during the season.
“We’re getting roughly six to seven tonne per hectare from our barley,” he said.
“That’s a really good outcome considering how dry it was during the earlier part of the season in June through to August.”
This article first appeared on www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au
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