One of the longest harvests in memory has all but finished with a second bumper year for grain growers in NSW despite a range of challenges.
NSW Farmers Grains Committee Chair Justin Everitt said despite all of the challenges – from a mouse plague to wet weather and flooding – growers had managed to achieve an incredible result.
“This has been without a doubt one of the longest harvests in memory, but we’re nearly there,” Mr Everitt said.
“Sometimes it’s felt like we’ve been kicked from pillar to post with worker shortages, high prices for supplies and everything nature can throw at us.
“But the end result is pretty positive and things are looking good for next year as well.”
Throughout the past year grain growers have had to contend with fewer workers under tough COVID restrictions, while rising input prices for fertiliser and fuel have squeezed the bottom line. Meanwhile, a mouse plague last year saw extensive damage not only to crops but also buildings and machinery, and flooding caused widespread destruction on many farms. However, Mr Everitt said farmers were a tough bunch that knew how to get in and get the job done.
“We’re still waiting for the final tally to come in but GrainCorp’s numbers are up on last year despite all the chaos, which is a really solid sign of success,” he said.
“The sorghum growers also say they’ve got the best looking crop in years ready to harvest soon, and that’s being helped along by a lot of research and development for that grain.
“And even thought here was a lot of rain and flooding, the high soil moisture means next year could be even better again if we can get all our ducks in a row.”
According to GrainCorp, receival sites took in almost 7.5 million tonnes of grain this harvest – up on about 7.2 million tonnes the previous year, while the Port of Newcastle reported a huge rise in grain exports in 2021. Working to improve logistics and supply chain efficiencies was something NSW Farmers was keenly interested in, Mr Everitt said.
“We’re busy on the farm, but once we harvest we need to get our crops to the people who’ll eventually get it onto dinner plates or in front of livestock,” Mr Everitt said.
“Every improvement we can make to that supply chain – better roads, better rail, better port access – that all helps our farmers invest back into making their businesses more sustainable long-term.
“It’s great to see Newcastle step up as an export destination between Sydney and Brisbane, and it’s one more way to get our great grain into the food chain.”