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SA harvest intake lifts; GPSA fire fears with limit change

Grain Central, November 1, 2022

Yeelanna Viterra’s Peter Thorpe (left) receives the site’s first load for the 2022-23 harvest from grower Jock North. Photo: Viterra

GROWERS delivered 2470 tonnes of grain to Viterra storages in South Australia last week, with the majority of tonnes delivered to sites in its Western region, Viterra said in its weekly harvest report released today.

Barley, field peas and lentils continued to be delivered, as well as the first loads of canola for the season.

During the week, Viterra’s Yeelanna site received its first 2022-23 delivery, even with rain continuing to interrupt the beginning of harvest.

Rain fell across most of the SA grainbelt in the week to 9am today, with Clare on 59 millimetres and Paskeville on 48mm the highest.

However, most gauges collected more like 10-30mm, with some wind and sun amid the rain events to lessen the impact on quality of crops on the point of harvest.

Week to 30 Oct 2022 Harvest to 30 Oct 2022
Western region 2351 2935
Central region 54 490
Eastern region 65 115

Table 1: Receivals into Viterra’s South Australian network for the 2022-23 harvest. Source: Viterra

Fire fears with limit change

As harvest in SA ramps up, albeit with rain interruptions, Grain Producers SA (GPSA) has urged the South Australian Country Fire Service (SACFS) to delay its transition to a new Harvest Code of Practice.

In line with the nationwide Australian Fire Danger Rating System, the fire danger indicator temperature for SA has been lifted to 40 degrees Celsius from 35 degrees previously.

GPSA chief executive officer Brad Perry said he has asked SACFS to delay the roll-out of the new code until after harvest due to the short notice for grain producers.

“GPSA understands the Grain Harvesting Operations Table will change from the Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) to a new Grassland Fire Behaviour Index (GFBI),” Mr Perry said.

While GPSA supports the science and research behind the AFDRS review, Mr Perry said GPSA  held concerns about the short timeframe SACFS has to inform industry about the lifting of the GFDI.

“With the current understanding of the GFDI, GPSA believes it is too risky to head into harvest underprepared and have some grain producers understanding the new index, while others are still using the former version.

“While the transition to the new AFDRS has been years in the making with GPSA’s consultation, we would caution against rushing implementation of the new code for what is set to be an extremely busy harvest period.”

SA is widely believed to be on track for a record harvest.

“The transition to a new code is not something that should be rushed and we believe an education campaign needs to start a lot earlier than September prior to the fire season and harvest.”

Mr Perry said GPSA would support SACFS to roll out the new guidelines after this harvest, and would provide a strong communication and education campaign early in 2023.

“This would allow time for clear communications to industry and for all weather station operators, for example, to change their equations and grain producers to adequately learn the new calculation.”

Grain Producers SA is the peak industry body representing the 4500 grain-farming businesses in South Australia.

Source: Viterra, GPSA

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  1. jack russel, November 2, 2022

    I would like to know which memorable disaster fire was lit by farmers harvesting. They had already stopped. Why not look at the causes of the bad fires. Overgrown roadsides, neglected powerlines, trains, catalytic converters, no fire breaks outside farmers’ fences, burnoffs too late. I would be more supportive of these harvest fire initiatives if everyone else did the same. Turn off the power, shutdown all transport, a total lockdown during bad fire conditions.

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