CBH hopes for another bumper crop

CBH is clearing silos and shipping out WA's biggest-ever grain harvest at a record rate as more rain across the Wheatbelt raises hopes for another bumper crop this season.

The WA co-operative broke its monthly shipping record in February with 1.6 million tonnes exported from Geraldton, Kwinana, Albany and Esperance and again in March when l.7mt was shipped out.

CBH is on target to clear all but about 200,000t of the 15.8mt it received from last season's record harvest of 17mt by November in a sign of the huge demand for WA grain.

Industry monitors calculate CBH shipped almost nine million tonnes from its four ports in WA between October and April while Australia's 15 other grain export ports exported a total of 7.88mt.

CBH operations manager David Capper said it would continue to focus on increasing road and rail freight capacity to feed its ports. It hopes to increase export capacity 18mt a year by 2018.

"We had a big crop but we've had really strong demand for it. The supply chain is performing and reacting to that big crop and that strong demand and moving grain out," Mr Capper said.

"A lot of people think there is going to be a huge carryover and sites will still be full at harvest later this year. It is just not the case. If everything goes to plan from here, we will be in a fantastic position for next harvest."

Only about 6mt remains in up country storage and no grain from the 2013-14 crop will be left in the Geraldton, Albany and Esperance port zones by November.

Wheat futures hit a 13-month high this week amid fears about growing violence in Ukraine disrupting exports and warnings that US farmers might harvest their smallest winter crop since 2006.

WA farmers, boosted by last season's result, are locking in the strong prices for their 2014-15 crops. Many have had a dream start to seeding with solid rain across the Wheatbelt over the past two days to follow the big falls over the Anzac Day long weekend.

The West Australian

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