Records all round as CBH calls end to harvest

Grain Central, February 17, 2023

Crops including oats contributed to the record 2022-23 for WA. Photo: CBH Group

TIME has been called on Western Australian harvest by the state’s bulk handler CBH Group, which received 22.7 million tonnes (Mt) from 2022-23 deliveries to break the record set in 2021-22 of 21.3Mt.

Close to 100 individual CBH site records were set across the network in the harvest just gone, including 53 sites that set daily tonnage records and 45 sites that exceeded their previous record for total tonnes delivered to the site in one harvest.

For the first time in the co-operatives 90-year history, CBH also received more than 600,000t in one day.

CBH Group chief operations officer Mick Daw said planning to receive the second consecutive record crop started early in 2022, and the season looked promising from April, with the Grain Industry Association of WA increasing tonnage predictions in its monthly crop reports.

“Yields were expected to be high, and this was quickly confirmed as harvest progressed,” Mr Daw said.

“Most growers ended up with exceptional yields, although harvest was not without its challenges in some areas with the ongoing wet weather.

“Deliveries are still trickling in from some growers, particularly in the southern parts of the state, so we expect total receivals for the season to be slightly higher.”

Out-turn, increased storage critical

Ensuring the co-operative could receive the 2022-23 crop was dependent on out-turning as much of the previous year’s crop as possible, and the addition of storage to key network sites.

“We opened 120 sites this year, including one new site in the Albany zone; that is 10 sites less than we opened last year, but we were able to receive 1.3Mt more grain.

“Adding 2.3Mt of temporary storage across 39 network sites, and 300,000t of permanent storage, helped give us the space to take in the extra grain.

“In the last two years, we’ve added over 5Mt of storage to our network.

“The real key to being able to receive another record crop was the effort by the CBH team and our road and rail contractors to out-turn as much of the previous year’s crop as possible.

“We delivered 18.1Mt of 2021-22 grain to our domestic and international customers before the 2022-23 harvest really kicked off.

“The pace of shipping has not slowed over harvest, with 6.7Mt exported between October and January.

“This is almost 40 per cent more than we’ve ever achieved in the same period, passing the previous high of 4.9Mt in 2017-18.”

Export target of 2Mt/month set

As well as congratulating WA growers, Mr Daw recognised the contribution of all of those involved in supporting agriculture in WA.

“Growing and harvesting a crop this size requires a huge effort from our growers, their employees, the CBH team, contractors, transporters, those working in agricultural support industries, and the families and communities that support those involved.

“The focus of the CBH team now turns squarely to maximising the amount of grain we can out-turn to our customers, with an export target of 2Mt per month.

“This will optimise the value we return to our growers and set us up for next harvest.”

ZONE 2022-23 tonnes 2021-22 tonnes

Key records

  • First time CBH network has received more than 600,000t in one day with 603,327t on 2 December;
  • 15 days with over 500,000t received to beat previous record of 11 days in 2021-22, and prior to that only five days in CBH history;
  • First non-port site to receive over 20,000t: Merredin with 20,639t on November 28, followed by Cranbrook with 23,027t;
  • 53 sites with new daily receival records;
  • 45 sites with new total receival records.

Source: CBH Group


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