With SA’s harvest nearly wrapped up, a total of 3.9 million tonnes have been received into Viterra sites across the state.
Viterra operations manager Michael Hill said harvest had finished in most areas, with only parts of the South East still going.
“Frances and Millicent are still taking deliveries, while other sites are receiving grain from on-farm storage,” he said.
Total receivals are down on last year's overall harvest figure of 5.6mt.
Related reading: Harvest ramps up
“Lower yields this season, compared with the 2017-18 harvest, was due to below-average rainfall, particularly in the critical spring period,” Mr Hill said.
Several frosts of varying severity across regions also hit receival figures.
Areas with below-average yields included the Mid North, Mallee and parts of the eastern Eyre Peninsula, while sites at Cummins, Port Giles, Port Lincoln, Ardrossan and Tumby Bay all had high receivals.
Overall, Mr Hill said grain quality received was good despite the challenges of the season, including untimely rain in November and December.
The price of beans, in particular, was a shining light.
“There were some isolated impacts on quality late in the season due to multiple wet weather events,” he said.
Elders Naracoorte agronomist Jason McClure said harvest in his region finished about 10 days ago.
“(The season) was as good as many could hope for, in regards to prices and yields,” he said.
“Beans, barley, wheat and canola were all exceptional, and the price of beans, in particular, was a shining light.”
Landmark Cummins agronomist Mick Broad echoed Mr McClure’s sentiment, saying the season was favourable for beans, in terms of both yields and prices.
“There were many four tonne a hectare bean crops, which sold at $800/t,” he said.
Cummins received the most grain of any site this season, with more than 450,000t, comprising canola, cereals and pulses.
“It was a prolonged harvest this season due to a few hot days where farmers were unable to reap,” Mr Broad said.
While Cummins had a highly-successful season, further north, Cleve had below-average yields.
Cleve Rural Traders agronomist Sarah Traeger said there was considerable variation across the region.
If we do get some rain this year the farmers will be able to chase yields without having to cut corners too much.
“Parts of the district did a lot better than expected, given the frost events and lack of rain, (but) other parts throughout the Cowell and Arno Bay areas unfortunately didn’t have a crop at all,” she said.
“Grain prices certainly helped, considering yields were down on normal.”
The Riverland was also extremely dry, according to Elders Loxton agronomist Brian Lynch.
“We barely got 65 millimetres for the growing season,” he said.
“We got away with decile one rainfall without losing too much ground, so if we do get some rain this year the farmers will be able to chase yields without having to cut corners too much.”
High commodity prices across the board allowed most farmers to break even or make a small profit.
“Barley held its head up a bit – at one stage it was selling for nearly $400/t, whereas last year it sold for $140/t,” he said.
Prior to the start of harvest, a shed resealing program was completed at Viterra’s Roseworthy site, which is set to expand in time for next season.
Two new bunkers on newly-acquired land will be able to store an additional 40,000t of grain.