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    REASON TO SMILE: GrainCorp grain handlers, from left, Tom Jones, Jacob Glare, Kyra Clarke and Jackson Cross at Natimuk celebrating the end of harvest in December 2020.

AgLife: Dollars flow after bumper season


Regional managers in charge of major Wimmera and southern Mallee grain receival sites believe a socio-economic boost will flow on to rural and regional communities in 2021 following record-breaking results for farmers and producers. 

Several Victorian GrainCorp sites recorded their best season, including Lillimur in the west Wimmera, taking 122,000 tonnes, while Natimuk broke its 2012-13 harvest record by 10,000 tonnes. 

The two sites were among 60 in New South Wales and Victoria to record their highest-ever total of receivals of wheat, barley, canola and other grains. 

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The combined intake across harvest totalled more than 13-million tonnes compared with 12.6-million tonnes of receivals in 2016-17.

Southern Mallee area manager Phil Duynhoven said economic benefits from the ‘bumper season’ were likely to flow onto communities across western Victoria. 

“On the back of a good season there’s a lot more money that flows through the community, especially for the small country towns,” he said.

“Additionally, a good season generally results in more employment across the board.

“The last couple of years we’ve had additional staff on at all country sites, which has been a real positive for the community and helps to bring new people into the community.” 

Mr Duynhoven said timely rain and improved farm practices were contributing to consecutively strong harvests.  

“We had fairly decent rain throughout the growing season last year and generally had the right weather conditions all the way through,” he said.  

“The farm practices are also continually improving, and we seem to be getting more yield with less rain year on year.”

Wimmera area manager Gerard Bibby said practices such as direct drilling, where seed was placed in the ground without any prior soil cultivation in the stubble of the previous crop, was one method contributing to high grain receivals. 

“Direct drilling is probably one of the biggest changes in the area. This helps to retain all the moisture in the ground,” he said. 

“High receivals in places like Natimuk could be attributed to rain just before harvest, which for the whole Wimmera, would have brought millions of dollars into the region – that last rain just topped us off perfectly.” 

Mr Bibby said crops such as canola, wheat and barley performed particularly well in the Wimmera. 

“Canola was well and truly above what was forecast in the Wimmera,” he said. 

“It varied around the Wimmera. Quite often you heard the six-tonne-per-hectare mark for wheat and barley and around three tonnes for canola.” 

Operations general manager Nigel Lotz said the company’s focus had now turned toward exporting grain throughout the world. 

“The harvest not only reinvigorated many of our sites, it has also led to a strong export program out of our ports at Carrington and Port Kembla, in NSW, and Geelong and Portland, in Victoria,” he said.

Mr Lotz said four ports were booked out until September 2021. 

The entire January 27, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire January 27, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!