The grain harvest season is a significant event on the Australian agricultural calendar. Throughout NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, intensive and demanding work occurs from September/October each year. The majority of the harvested commodities are used for human consumption and animal feed, however some seeds such as canola seed can also be used for industrial purposes like biodiesel.
Australian grains are high quality commodities and a substantial portion of our output is exported to the Asian and Middle East regions, including countries such as Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and Sudan. We are also seeing exports to the Chinese market are once again growing.
The grains market is one of Australia’s leading agricultural sectors, with some forecasts valuing it at over over 20 billion dollars in 2023. This article is focused on the grain harvest season in Victoria and NSW.
If you have questions about exporting grain and how to get the best price at the farm gate contact Grainwise here.
Importance of Grain Harvest in Australia
According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), global crop production in 2023–24 is projected to remain above 2022–23. This is despite El Niño developing and extreme weather events becoming more common.
The latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report notes during 2021-2022, Australian bulk grain exports were 40.6 million tonnes, a rise of 22% over the previous year.
The Australian Grain Harvest Calendar
According to the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, there are around 22 million hectares of commercial grain crops planted annually across Australia. Soil type, weather, and climate patterns split the Australian grain harvest calendar into two major regions.
The northern region extends from the Dubbo to the north of NSW into central and southern Queensland. The winter harvest is planted between March and July and harvested between September to December. Northern region winter crops include:
- Faba beans
- Field peas
- Triticale, and
Summer crops in the northern region include:
- Mung beans
The southern grain growing region extends south of Dubbo in central NSW to Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and into the southwest corner of Western Australia. Often likened to a typical Mediterranean climate with dry summers and winter rainfall, the southern region’s winter planting season starts in May and continues until late July. Winter crop harvesting in the southern region begins in late October until January.
Southern region winter crops include:
- Cereal rye
- Faba beans
- Field peas
Factors Affecting the Grain Harvest Season
The grain harvest season in Australia can be affected by soil quality, weather conditions and government policies. Grainwise specialises in providing leading marketing services to farmers, connecting them with a large pool of buyers to increase their selling opportunities.
- Improve and maintain the price
- Improve yield and yield stability
- Manage risk to minimise losses and maximise profits
- Optimise input costs
Technologies Transforming Grain Harvesting
By 2050, the United Nations predicts the global population will be 9.7 billion, which means agricultural production must improve its output to meet this demand. Recent technological advances in modern farming provide grain farmers with the tools to increase production while improving the efficiency of their farms.
Technologies transforming grain harvesting include robotics and agricultural drones with computer vision software. Sometimes called “smart farming”, grain farmers can now use:
- Autonomous tractors
- Seeding robots
- Robotic harvesters, and
- Automatic watering systems.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is also transforming the grain industry with ‘precision agriculture’ where a detailed analysis of plant health, soil and climate data is collected. AI can then use this data to:
- Detect disease
- Forecast pest infestations
- Predict threats to crops, and
- Provide rapid, targeted responses to minimise crop losses.
The real message here is “watch this space,” because agriculture is one of the last sectors in the economy to be transformed by digitisation, and it is just getting started.
Global Demand and Its Impact on Australian Grain Harvest
If you’re in the grain trade industry, trying to keep up with the global demand for Australian grain can feel challenging. With climate factors, the war in Ukraine, conflict in the Middle East, inflationary pressures, and changing market demand, staying adaptive while improving productivity is more complex than ever before.
Notwithstanding the above, there is cause for optimism. Domestic demand is strong and Australian exporters have a reputation for quality and reliability.
Moreover, as our near neighbours become wealthier we can expect our trade with them will increase in both volume and value.
Strategies for Maximising Yield and Profit
A challenge for people in the grain industry is to maximise yield and profit. The following strategies can help.
1 Improve land management
Selecting a suitable variety of crops is a simple way to maximise yield and profits. Another way to improve yield and profits is to match the fertilisers with your crop needs. Using the wrong type of fertiliser wastes money and can impact the crop’s quality.
2 Use chemical sprays safely
Getting advice about chemical products and permits you may need keeps your crops disease-free and your workers safe. Checking if the spray applications are correct minimises the risk of failed sprays and the extra costs of re-spraying.
3 Protect waterways
Protecting the waterways of your farm with grass will improve water quality by:
- Reducing the volume and flow of water leaving the farm.
- Decreasing erosion.
- Trapping and removing sediments, pesticides and sediments from shallow groundwater and run-off.
We could go on. If you’d like ot know more or discuss the industry further please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Get The Most Out of This Harvest Season With Grainwise!
If you’re in the grain industry and want to get the most out of this harvest season you can test of expertise and know-how. We guarantee our services are focused on providing you with the best farmgate return on the market. Contact us here.