Using a drone, photographer Andrew Gregory takes an unusual look at the grain harvest.

Story By Andrew Gregory

“We’ve had the best start we’ve had in 15–16 years,” says Mark Mason, managing director of Ceres Agricultural Company, predicting a good grain harvest this year around Moree, NSW. “You don’t want to jinx yourself, but it’s looking very good at the moment. The first six weeks are when the plant makes its mind up. They’ve got heaps of moisture under them and they’re growing really well. We need a good fall in August and we’re looking like it’ll be well above average.” Last year, using a drone, photographer Andrew Gregory documented Ceres workers in late September as they brought in what ended up being a pretty poor harvest. “We’ve had three well-below average seasons in a row,” Mark says. “Last year was shocking.” However, director of Graingrowers Ltd, John Eastburn, himself a grower from Baradine, NSW, says that around the country there is likely to be some very good harvests this year. “All eastern areas are good except north-west New South Wales and south-west Queensland,” John says. “There just isn’t enough rain to bring them out of the problems they’ve had for the past four years. In the north-west of Victoria they’re also doing it pretty tough, but it’s generally looking good elsewhere.” At the beginning of July, soil moisture levels in the major grain-growing areas of South Australia – such as the Eyre and Yorke peninsulas – were extremely low, which could result in poor grain harvests there. John says that while harvests in Western Australia and South Australia generally depend on winter rains, “rainfall in August and September make or break the eastern seaboard crops”.
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This Story is from Issue #102

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sept 2015