Central Queensland growers are experiencing one of their best seasons in living memory, but a wet weather forecast and lack of available storage facilities has forced them to invest in their own infrastructure.
According to Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics statistics, Queensland wheat yields are forecasted to be the best in six seasons.
Despite the recent opening of the CQ Inland Port at Yamala and Sizer and Cogill's nearly completed 100,000 tonne facility at Mt McLaren, many growers have already increased their on-farm storage.
The Staal family, Gindie, have planted 2100ha wheat and chickpea in their winter crop, including 400ha of double cropped country.
Gordon Staal described this year's wheat as a "once in a lifetime crop".
"I can't remember when the crop looked like this, it's just amazing," he said.
"Even where we harvested our sorghum, a week later we were straight back in there, and I don't think we've ever done that.
"It's been such a wet season and we were probably harvesting it wetter than I wanted to, as in the ground was compacted and I didn't want the heavy machinery out there, but I just knew that we could turn it straight back around."
Mr Staal said although they couldn't know for sure what the yield would be until the grain was in the bin, it was currently between five to seven tonne to the hectare.
The Staal's have 3000 tonne of storage on their home property Emembi Downs and another 1500 tonne at their other farm on the Comet River, which they have been expanding on each year as GrainCorp depots started shutting down around the region, such as Springsure and Emerald.
With most growers anticipating their first bumper crop in years, many were concerned about whether the depots would be able to handle the sheer volume of grain expected.
"We've got about four and a half thousand tonne all up for this year, and that's not enough, so it'll be a matter of using GrainCorp and also selling a bit off farm as harvest goes on as well," Mr Staal said.
"Gindie is open this year, but I think it's still only 23,000 tonnes and that's not going to take long for it to fill up, so then Yamala is the next spot and it's quite a hike for us."
After the weatherman predicted three to four rainfall events across the 16 day forecast, Mr Staal decided to begin harvesting wheat around a week earlier than usual, but said having on-farm storage and grain driers gave him the flexibility to work around the weather.
Having had 384mm of rain so far in 2022, more than they've seen in a number of years, the rain has helped to produce the Staal's exceptional crop, but it also has the potential to wreak havoc throughout the harvest period.
"We're harvesting probably earlier than we'd like to, just because we know what the weather conditions are like," Mr Staal said.
"Normally, it's always drought and water restrictions, but this year, our weaknesses in the crop is where we've had too much water."
Like many other growers around the region, they are hoping the wet holds off just long enough for them to see out the season, with plans to harvest chickpeas in around 10 days time, if the weather chooses to play ball.
CQ Commodities manager Craig Wade said harvest had commenced on the early crops, with some wheat coming off south of Emerald and in the Dysart area.
"So far, we're seeing some really good yields, but full swing harvest is probably still a month away," he said.
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