West Australian grain harvest slumps after bumper crop year before

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SYDNEY, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — Western Australia’s (WA) 2019 grain harvest has proven to be disappointingly low, in stark comparison to a bumper crop the year before.

Grain Industry of WA crop report editor Michael Lamond told Xinhua on Monday that while the yield is well down on the 10-year average, production has significantly increased over that time and this year was still enough to see most growers in profit.

Overall WA produced 11.2 million tons of grain, compared with 17.9 million tons in 2018, which was the second biggest harvest ever.

Lamond said that a lack of sub-soil moisture combined with a short growing season were behind the drop in production, adding that the conditions were fairly widespread across the state.

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve had very poor seasons in various areas of WA, but the other areas have been able to make for them, whereas this year it was pretty poor right across the state except the south west,” Lamond said.

The worst hit were the northern producers who were down by 50-75 percent in tonnage, experiencing conditions which Lamond compared to the drought in Australia’s east.

“Not too good for them but they came off the back of one of the best years ever, so I suppose it’s not a total disaster,” he said.

The majority of Australia’s grain production is wheat, which this year yielded 5.3 million tons, followed by barley, which saw a production of 3.9 million tons.

Around 95 percent of Australia’s overall grain harvest is generally exported to supply overseas markets, of which China is a large component.

Chinese beer brewers are particularly fond of Australian barley with the country’s crop being used alongside Canadian grain in Tsingtao beer, China’s second largest brewery.

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