Harvest under way on KI

Croppers get harvest under way on Kangaroo Island


Growing conditions have been perfect for a bumper cereal crop on KI.


THE 2019 harvest on Kangaroo Island is shaping up to be excellent.

Growing conditions have been perfect with good early winter rains, a much-needed top up of about 30 millimetres in September and good finishing weather.

KI croppers started harvesting barley and some canola last week, while wheat is still some weeks away and broad beans after that.

Travis Bell from Bellevista farms started harvesting his barley crop on Wednesday last week and said he was very pleased with yields.

"It's been one of the best years we've had," he said.

Mr Bell was yet to see the final figures from his barley harvest, but he estimated yields of between 6.5 tonnes a hectare and 7t/ha.

They did lose a crop of wheat at Cygnet River to frost, which was the first frost loss he can recall impacting on crops. The crop was turned into hay for stock feed.

Hay production had also been excellent across the Island, with Bellevista expected to produce 4500 bales, of which 1800 was the failed wheat crop.

The only thing lacking for farmers and rural dwellers across the Island had been the lack of heavy rain to fill farm dams and tanks that were running dry.

Less rainfall also fell on the eastern end of the Island.

OAT CROP: The Morgan family check out their oat crop just before harvest. Photo KI Oats

OAT CROP: The Morgan family check out their oat crop just before harvest. Photo KI Oats

On KI's south coast, Steve Morgan of KI Oats finished harvest on Sunday, November 24.

"It's been an excellent harvest, really good," he said.

"The oats were bigger, brighter and didn't have the staining of last year."

KI cereal croppers in 2018 were hit with late rains in November and into December that impacted on both yield and quality.

The Morgans store their oats in air-tight silos on-farm before it is shipped to Blue Lake Milling at Bordertown for packaging early next year.

The rest of the island's grain is handled by KI Pure Grain.

KIPG site manager Dennis Jamieson said the harvest was proceeding well.

KIPG had taken in about 2500t of barley from three growers so far, but the harvest had just started with a couple more growers getting active later in the week.

Westminster barley grown on the island goes to Coopers' new state-of-the-art malting plant in Adelaide.

And this year, all of the Coopers Brewery's KI maltings will go to the Hite Brewery Company in South Korea.

Mr Jamieson said Coopers was interested in following the trail of Planet barley - the variety grown at Bellevista - for use in its malting plant.

KIPG meanwhile has also just started taking delivery of the first canola of the season, all of which is supplied to the Palsystem Cooperative in Japan.

The canola harvest will continue for some weeks, after which wheat will be harvested and finally broad beans later in December, Mr Jamieson said.

Last year, the wheat harvest that was impacted on by late rains was kept on the island as feed for the growing sheep population.

But with sufficient yields and quality this year, KI wheat could also again be marketed for flour processing on the mainland to companies, such as Lauckes and Arnott's Australia.

The story Harvest under way on KI first appeared on The Islander.


From the front page

Sponsored by