A SPEED farmer believes the profit margin from this year’s crop will struggle to be better than last year’s.
Speed farmer Phil Down said he had finished harvesting barley.
“It’s a mixed bag in terms of yields, which varied quite a bit around the district from two tonnes a hectare to four tonnes a hectare, depending on the soil types and paddock rot,” he said.
“Quality is mixed and mostly feed – it’s black tip that is keeping people out of malt.”
Mr Down said prices were continuing to drop as harvest continued.
“It’s a big issue,” he said.
“In my case, so far the barley will produce nearly the same gross margin as last year and we’ve grown twice as much.
“We are also handling twice as much product, which costs more, so really we aren’t a great deal better than last year, when we were in the middle of one of the worst droughts.
“It’s very disappointing.”
Mr Down said while yields were overall above average, prices were some of the worst he had ever seen.
“We are storing a percentage of grain on farm to put to the market later on but that was a hard decision to make when there is so much grain around,” he said.
“There has also been grain loss due to wind.”
Agrivision consultant and Hopetoun farmer Kate Wilson said most growers in the district were stripping lentils and barley.
“People are pretty happy with the yields, but the barley price in particular is a disgrace,” she said.
“Because there is so much crop about, I don’t think the prices will change a great deal.”
Beulah farmer Ross Williams said he had tried harvesting barley but it was still too green.
“There is still a bit of moisture about, which has made it difficult,” he said.
He said he started harvesting lentils last week.
Hopetoun farmer Darren Bellinger said if he could order a year like this every year, it would be fantastic.
“The past few years have been ordinary, but this year it’s great,” he said.
“Everything is going really well, we’ve finished harvesting lentils and are about to kick into barley.
“We’ve got some terrific yields and the quality has been excellent.”