Last of Eyre growers finishing record season

CLEANING: Mark Fitzgerald with some of the grain he is cleaning before finishing up this season's harvest.

CLEANING: Mark Fitzgerald with some of the grain he is cleaning before finishing up this season's harvest.

Factors including weather and grain contamination have delayed some farmers across Eyre Peninsula  completing what has been a record harvest year.

The Port Lincoln terminal has experienced its busiest season ever and achieved the record for shipments in a single month with 350,000 tonnes in December.

This broke the record of 326,000 tonnes set at Port Adelaide in 2002.

Viterra western region operations manager James Murray said Port Lincoln broke several of its own records including a seasonal intake of 337,000 tonnes and a new record daily intake of 13,000 tonnes on December 7.

“It’s been a great effort by the teams involved in both shipping and receivals to keep grain moving through the supply chain and growers and carriers moving through the sites,” he said.

The Tumby Bay site also set a record, breaking its season record by receiving more than 359,000 tonnes.

Across Eyre Peninsula, about 10 to 15 per cent of growers were still completing their harvest last week.

The West Coast harvest is wrapping up with about 95 per cent of Ceduna growers finished with the rest expected to be done by the end of the week.

Around Tumby Bay about 85 to 90 per cent of farmers had finished with mostly legumes, lupins and vetch still to come in.

Bawden’s Rural Supplies agronomist Luke Wilkins said there was a later start than normal this season and the Boxing Day rain set back those who were still going.

“Anyone who didn’t finish by Christmas Eve were set back due to the rain,” he said.

He said obstacles local growers had faced this season had included snails as well as contamination from late blooming weeds and vetch.

One grower that has experienced this contamination is Butler farmer Mark Fitzgerald who was 95 per cent finished last week.

He said late germinating weeds and vetch in barley crops had been a big issue for him and others in the area.

“All of that is down to an exceptionally kind spring,” he said. “A good spring leads to good crops but also means late germinating weeds.”

Mr Fitzgerald said the presence of vetch and green weeds had prompted him to do a lot of blending and cleaning.