Farmers celebrate harvest success

REGION - Farmers across the Ararat region are celebrating their second consecutive year of outstanding harvest results.

Large yields of canola, barley and wheat have filled those on the land with the confidence they need as they look to the year ahead.

Excellent conditions experienced during the growing season have translated to bumper rewards at harvest.

The results are in stark contrast to our northern neighbours who have been heavily impacted by an inland drought in Queensland that has spread to parts of Western and Central New South Wales.

Agronomist at Gorst Rural Supplies in Lake Bolac, Craig Drum, said the length of the harvest for many farmers in the district would have been six weeks, with those who weren't already finished, now in the final stages of their operation.

He said farmers would be relishing the fact they have gone back-to-back with close to, if not their best ever, harvest results.

"It has been really good, anywhere south of Ararat, which is our service area, including areas like Willaura, Tatyoon, Lake Bolac and Westmere have had an exceptional year," he said.

"Canola again exceeded expectations and that's straight after what a lot saw as their best ever year last year."

Mr Drum said the heatwave in mid-January allowed farmers to increase harvesting activities late into the night.

"Results for wheat and barley were better than last year which was surprising given a lot of areas like Tatyoon for example only had 70 percent of their average rainfall," he said.

"We had a really soft spring and what started out as a tight October was followed by a good rain."

Willaura farmer Andrew Byron began his harvesting operation on December 9 and completed it last Wednesday.

He said it was halted for one week at the beginning of the month due to wet weather when moisture levels were to high.

One third of Mr Byron's crop is canola, another third is wheat and the remaining third is a mixture of barley and oats.

"It was a very pleasing result, probably our best average yield," he said.

Mr Byron said there were indications it was going to be a good year but they had to wait until early November before they could be confident they would reap the benefits.

"Canola finished up similar to last year, but for us wheat was better, the cool finish really helped us their to exceed all our expectations," he said.

"We were very fortunate to get a break in the weather and a good rain on the twenty-second of October."

Mr Byron said overall prices for grains were average with the exception of wheat which finished above average.

Mr Drum said the average price wasn't quite as good as last year but was still trending above the 10-15 year average.

"Obviously domestic and international demand determines the price, and that has been offset by the falling Australian dollar," he said.

"It gives our guys the confidence they need to have a positive outlook for the year ahead."

Mr Byron and other farmers across the region will soon turn their attention to an Autumn break which they hope will bring the rain they need in early March.

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