Harvest joy for Stawell region farmers

REGION - The signs were positive early that this season's harvest could produce the goods and it hasn't failed to deliver, with reports of bumper crops due to excellent conditions during the growing season.

Cooler weather at the beginning of December slowed operations before work to harvest crops including canola, lentils, barley and oats were completed in most areas by the New Year.

Joel South farmer Phil Hall hailed this year's harvest as the best since the turn of the century.

Mr Hall said taking into account a couple of weather delays, his harvesting operation was completed within three weeks.

"Definitely an above average harvest and probably our best since 2000," he said.

"We've had a run of pretty poor years, but this year we had a dry start followed by good spring rains. I think the best part though was the good quality grain."

Mr Hall grows three varieties of oats with all exceeding expectations. He said the good ground made for a good season and the results fill him with optimism for the year ahead.

"This gets us back on track, prices aren't high, but they are reasonable," he said.

Greens Creek farmer Brett Stewart said without hesitation for him that this year's harvest had been the best ever.

"It has been the best ever, both in quality and yield. We harvest primarily in canola and barley and we have achieved above average results for both," he said.

Mr Stewart said barring the few days that were spoilt by either rain or hot weather they had a fairly good run.

"We knocked ours over in two weeks at the beginning of December but we also help out at the Navarre Football Club and Woodlands," he said.

Mr Stewart said he was generally optimistic about the year ahead but that will ultimately be determined by something out of their control - the weather.

"With a bit of luck, this year we can put together a reasonable crop. Not a dry summer, more regular rains," he said.

"Hope for an early break then a continual break not a false one where we get a bit of rain and things go dry like has happened the last few years."

GrainCorp government and media relations director Angus Trigg said this year's growing season compared favourably to previous years.

"Farmers were moving along rapidly in the peak period and were only slowed by some forecast rain," he said.

"Growers in the Western District have reported good yields and good quality, even better than what they expected.

"Canola is done and most will move to wheat where they have been collecting a couple of thousand tonnes a day. So as they enter the final stages they'll be finishing thick and fast."

Mr Trigg said results and finishing times would vary but that Stawell region farmers faired well compared to their northern neighbours.

"Victorian farmers have been dealt a good crop but because it has been so dry growers in northern New South Wales and Queensland have faced real difficulty this growing season," he said.

Mr Trigg said completion of this year's harvest if not already achieved would depend on the weather with rain the only foreseeable thing in the farmer's way.

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