High yields but not record profits

RECORD yields estimated for many grain growers around the region have been overshadowed by the high Australian dollar.

This means many may struggle yet again this year.

Harvesting has begun with many western areas producing big yields.

Figures from the Australian crop report released this month show an estimated increase for total winter crop production of 7% compared to last season, with Queensland estimated to have increased by 11%.

This brings total winter crop production to a record 45.4 million tonnes for 2011 to 2012, making it  the second largest winter crop on record in the eastern states.

But these figures offer little solace for growers who have recovered from flooding last year only to be faced with another hurdle this year.

Rodney Hamilton from 'Callitris' near Roma planted sorghum three times last year only for it to be wiped out each time.

He lost an estimated $2 to $3 million last year and doesn't hold much hope for profits this year.

"We can come out of a time like that but because of the dollar, we can't make profitability," Mr Hamilton said.

Mr Hamilton planted 1000 hectares of sorghum which, if the wet weather holds off, he hopes to finish harvest in the coming weeks.

"We should have been close to finishing but unfortunately the wet weather stopped us," he said.

"The quality is still okay but the test weight has come down a bit."

He began harvesting earlier this week but said the recent wet weather had slowed things down.

"We're growing a pretty reasonable crop but because of deregulation ... it's causing a flow on effect to all growers causing profitability to come under threat," Mr Hamilton said.

"We all got bigger ... I now farm 10,000 acres after expanding the operation five to six years ago.

"But now it's come back to bite us," he said.

"We can grow the grain but can't make a profit."

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