Harvest a mixed bag for Kangaroo Island crop farmers

The harvest of cereals and other crops on Kangaroo Island this year was impacted on by weather late in the season.

Site manager for KI Pure Grain, Dennis Jamieson went through this year’s figures, which overall were reasonably positive for the Island’s crop farmers.

A record canola crop was anticipated in the lead up to the 2018/2019 harvest and the end result was an average yield of 2.7 tonnes per hectare, up from a normal yield of 1.6 tonnes.

Some areas of the Island saw yields of 4 tonnes per hectare but 90km/h winds and rain just before harvest did impact on the canola paddocks, Mr Jamieson said.

Wheat was disappointing and a seven-day rain event late in the season meant that much of the crop “shot” and has been downgraded. 

Normally, the Island’s soft wheat goes to Allied Mills to be processed into flour for Arnott’s Tim Tam biscuits.

But this year the 5060 tonnes of wheat received by KIPG is being marketed as stock feed.

A high feed price of $390 per tonne, compared to $160 tonne two years, meant that crop farmers were still seeing good returns, he said.

Barley was positive in that the crop was harvested before the weather events with 2000 tonnes delivered to KIPG to be sold to Coopers’ new state-of-the-art malting plant.

Of that about half will be used for make Cooper’s Vintage Ale, while the other higher protein half will be turned into maltings for whiskey producers.

The bean crop turned out to be poor due a dry spell in September that stopped the podding process, resulting in the plants protecting the pods already formed. 

While yields were down by about half to 1 tonne per hectare, the beans delivered to KIPG were of very good quality, 70 per cent above 14mm.