ONE of the longest harvest periods in living memory in New South Wales has all but finished, and delivered a second consecutive bumper crop for grain growers.
NSW Farmers Grains Committee chair Justin Everitt said this was despite a range of challenges, including a mouse plague, wet weather, and flooding.
“This has been without a doubt one of the longest harvests in memory, but we’re nearly there,” Mr Everitt said.
“Sometimes it’s felt like we’ve been kicked from pillar to post with worker shortages, high prices for supplies and everything nature can throw at us, but the end result is pretty positive and things are looking good for next year as well.”
Throughout the past year, growers have had to contend with fewer workers under tough COVID restrictions, while rising input prices for fertiliser and fuel have squeezed the bottom line.
Meanwhile, a mouse plague last year saw extensive damage to crops, buildings and machinery, and flooding caused widespread destruction on many farms.
“We’re still waiting for the final tally to come in, but GrainCorp’s numbers are up on last year despite all the chaos, which is a really solid sign of success.”
“The sorghum growers also say they’ve got the best-looking crop in years ready to harvest soon, and that’s being helped along by a lot of research and development for that grain.
“Even thought there was a lot of rain and flooding, the high soil moisture means next year could be even better again if we can get all our ducks in a row.”
According to GrainCorp, the eastern states bulk handler received almost 7.5 million tonnes (Mt) of grain in NSW this harvest, up on about 7.2Mt the previous year, and the Port of Newcastle (PoN) reported a huge rise in grain exports in 2021.
Last year, PoN exported more than 3Mt of wheat from the GrainCorp and Newcastle Agri Terminals combined.
This is up 900 per cent from the drought-reduced 304,000t shipped in 2020, and PoN records indicate 2021 was the biggest year for wheat exports from Newcastle since 1990.
“It’s great to see Newcastle step up as an export destination between Sydney and Brisbane, and it’s one more way to get our great grain into the food chain.”
“Every improvement we can make to that supply chain – better roads, better rail, better port access – that all helps our farmers invest back into making their businesses more sustainable long-term.
PoN also recorded its highest diversified trade volumes recorded since 1997, and fertiliser imports at 720,000t were up 69pc from the 2020 volume.
Source: NSW Farmers, Port of Newcastle