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3 March, 2022

Harvest wrap

What was meant to be a once in a lifetime harvest, the 2021 season deteriorated almost instantly by unpredicted amounts of rain and tougher conditions.

By Emily Middleton

Photo of 2021 harvest (entered into the GrainCorp photo competition) by 16-year-old Jack Chandler, based between Gilgandra and Curban. Photo supplied.

“We were staring down the barrel of a once in a lifetime harvest,” said one Gilgandra farmer.

“There were extraordinary yields, not just high, but extraordinary with quite a high price. That does not happen, and we missed that.”

There are still a handful of farmers in the region who are continuing to finish off last little bits of harvest here and there, over three months after the usual deadline.

Rain delays caused crop values to drop, and the longer it stayed in the paddock, the more it cost farmers. To top it off, in recent weeks, inflation in the agricultural sector has also gone through the roof.

“Chemical and fertiliser for example and now fuel as well. They’ve all gone up extraordinary amounts. Like we’re talking up to double,” said a Gilgandra farmer.

While farmers in the district were disappointed, there were still positives to come out of the unfortunate circumstances.

“We still got a one in 15-year event. So still an extremely good result,” said a Gilgandra farmer. “It was disappointing but I don’t think anyone’s whinging.”

According to GrainCorp, Gilgandra’s harvest was actually a ‘standout’.

“Gilgandra was another standout site this harvest season, taking in over 374,000 tonnes of grain – a record receival for the site,” said a GrainCorp spokesperson.

“The site is now busy outloading grain, by road and rail, to port and domestic customers to cater for more crop later this year."

Median expectation for the wheat yield in 2021, according to CSIRO, was 2.14 tonnes per hectare. This is 20 per cent above the 15-year national average.

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