BARLEY might be attracting headlines for all the wrong reasons in terms of prices but the industry agrees on one point – there are plenty of tonnes about.
Barley Australia chairman Andrew Gee expects this year’s barley harvest to smash the 10.4 megaton record set in 2003.
“Every time we assess total production it seems to get a little bigger,” he said.
Farmers in all areas are reporting big yields, with plenty of reports of five tonne a hectare crops and some pushing six tonnes. Murtoa farmer Chris Delahunty said he had started the barley harvest and early signs were good.
“There are excellent yields so far and I think that will be the case in all of our area apart from the guys who had frost damage,” he said.
South Eastern Australia Barley Advisory Council chairman Simon Tickner said there were some reports of light frosting in parts of the Wimmera bringing yield down but generally farmers were pleased with yields.
“The frost has just knocked a tiny bit of cream off the top for some, but on an overall level, the crop is in top condition,” he said.
Mr Gee said the remarkable part about the crop was the fact most key production zones were going well.
“You usually have one area suffer, and while we’ve seen WA hit by the frost it is far from a disaster, this is why we think we should hit record production levels,” he said.
He said protein, black tipping and shriveled grain had caused downgrading in some barley.