Victoria’s flood-defying record harvest

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 18th March 2011

Despite floods, locusts and heavy rain, Victoria’s food producers have broken production records for wheat, barley and canola, said Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh today.

Walsh said the season’s results were an absolute credit to the state’s grains industry, which had faced extremely difficult conditions this year.

“Although quality suffered because of the wet and results varied from paddock to paddock and farm to farm, the season still produced a big harvest,” Walsh said.

“In the face of locusts, floods and heavy rain, the state’s food producers have grown more than four million tonnes of wheat, breaking the 1983 record of 3.8 million tonnes.

“Barley growers produced more than 2.4 million tonnes of grain, more than the previous record set in 2003-04 when they brought in 2.275 million tonnes.”

More than 450,000 tonnes of canola were also harvested across the state.

Walsh said figures from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics showed Victoria’s average wheat yields were 2.7 tonnes per hectare. Barley averaged about 2.8 tonnes per hectare, canola 1.7 t/ha, chickpeas 1.9t/ha, lentils 1.7t/ha and faba beans 1.8t/ha.

“Regionally, our own figures suggest wheat yielded 3t/ha in the south of the state, with production of 2.6t/ha in the north, 2.4t/ha in the Wimmera and 2.3t/ha in the Mallee,” Walsh said.

“Victoria’s analysis also shows the state’s croppers grew 186,000 tonnes of oats, 168,000 tonnes of triticale, 132,000 tonnes of fava beans, 73,000 tonnes of chickpeas and 55,000 tonnes of field peas.”

But despite the good results, Walsh said not everyone had experienced a bumper harvest.

“Although the statewide yield was good, a number of individual farmers had little or no harvest as a result of the wet weather and the floods,” he said.

“We will continue to press upon the Commonwealth the need for continued assistance for those who did not have the recovery year that the majority of Victorian food producers enjoyed.”