The West

Wheat price a farmer s delight
Merredin Farmer John Nicoletti is optimistic about surging wheat prices. Picture: Astrid Volzke/The West Australian

Farmers across the Wheatbelt have every reason to smile as wheat prices surged above the magical $300 a tonne mark this week for the first time in more than a year.

Recent dry weather in the US hit crop production, leaving WA farmers hopeful of big pay cheques after several years of droughts and low prices.

Last year at harvest, wheat downgraded by heavy rain was fetching as little as $200 a tonne.

This year, some farmers are already locking in higher prices to make up for last year's shortfall. John Nicoletti, one of the State's biggest grain growers, said the price would continue to rise and he was looking forward to a bumper season.

The Merredin farmer and John Deere dealership owner hopes to produce close to 90,000 tonnes of grain this season. He said there was a lot of optimism and excitement in the air.

"It's going to improve a lot on our bottom line," he said. "All we have got to do now is grow it.

"There's been a bit of positivity. Everyone's coming in the store and they're actually smiling for a change. The price has got there and I think it's going to go up, so hopefully it will continue to go in the right direction."

WA Farmers Federation grain section president Kim Simpson hoped prices would remain strong.

"If we get decent rains, and at the right time this season, then WA growers should reap a reasonable crop," Mr Simpson said.

"Everyone has their crop in the ground and will be doing everything possible to get a positive result come harvest time.

"Rain will be the variable and let's hope that all areas get good rains."

The West Australian

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