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VFF Argues for Better Rail Network

21 March 2011

AUSTRALIA - Victoria's record harvests provide farmers with the perfect opportunity to argue for a better rail network, the Victorian Farmers Federation says.

Against the odds Victorian growers broke wheat, barley and canola harvest records this season despite floods, locusts and heavy rain, says Weekly Times Now.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the results were impressive.

Food producers grew more than 4 million tonnes of wheat breaking the 1983 record of 3.8 million tonnes. Barley growers produced more than 2.4 million tonnes of grain and more than 450,000 tonnes of canola.

"Although quality suffered because of the wet and results varied from paddock to paddock and farm to farm, the season still produced a big harvest," Walsh said.

He said the figures from Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics showed Victoria's average wheat yields were 2.7 tonnes per hectare.

VFF president Andrew Broad said growers had produced one of the biggest harvests on record along the east coast of Australia this season.

"It's one of the biggest grain receivals for GrainCorp with something like 6+ million tonnes but we only have rail capacity to take 1.5 million tonnes of that by rail to port," Broad said.

"(The harvest) is good news and grain prices have stayed firm and feed grain prices have remained solid," Broad said.

"Some farmers fared better than others, for some it was like they had a can of milk in front of them and then the cow kicked it over," he said, referring to Victoria's season.

He said the bumper harvest was an opportunity to push for a better rail network.

"It's even difficult getting trucks and when the cotton and rice harvest starts it will be harder again."

Broad said the wet weather across Victoria had also shown the road network needed attention.

TheCropSite News Desk

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