Bumper crops ripening up on Kangaroo Island

While much of Australia is languishing in drought, cereal and canola crops on Kangaroo Island are shaping up to be the best they’ve ever been.

Shaun Trickey of Bellevista farms said wheat and canola crops on KI were shaping up to yield record harvests, while the barley was not far behind.

Inspecting a crop of Westminster barley on the Lockwood Farm off Ten Trees Road, Mr Trickey was keen to show off the tall, heavily ladened ears.

“It’s a good looking crop,” he said. “We would have liked a bit more late rain but compared to the rest of Australia, we are doing really well.”

Contributing to the bumper crops was just enough winter rain and then the conspicuous absence of hot dry north winds that had the potential to knock around the ripening crops.

KI’s unique climatic conditions meant that crops typically were ready to harvest a few weeks later than the mainland.

The harvesting of the bumper canola crop, all GM free and bound for the high-end Japanese retailer PAL System, would begin in as little as two weeks, while wheat would follow and then barley.

The barley at Lockwood and all the other Westminster barley grown on KI was bound for the malting plant at the Coopers Brewery in Adelaide.

In exciting news for KI crop farmers, the recent visit to KI Pure Grain facilities on the Island by representatives from PAL System in September could bear even more fruit.

Rodney Bell from Bellevista said the Japanese had now expressed an interest in purchasing Kangaroo Island barley.

“I think this is really exciting,” Mr Bell said, adding that the challenge was now to ensure there were sufficient crops planted to meet demand.

Crop farmers were facing increased pressure on Kangaroo Island of having prime cropping land being converted to trees, either for plantation timber or greening projects and carbon trading.

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