Elmore grower reaping the benefits

PHILLIP Neale has seen a fair few changes in his decades of harvesting.

The Elmore grower remembers when his father took five times as long to complete harvest on his harvester.

Now Mr Neale whips around his paddocks in his air-conditioned harvester, complete with auto-steer, GPS and tracking devices that show details about the yield.

“The harvester is the best place to be today,” he said, on a day when the car thermometer registered 44 degrees in the shade.

“We just have to be a bit cautious of fire on days like this.”

He also remembers a time when farmers could only get one flat price for grain at the Elmore GrainCorp site near his property.

Farming, like everything else, has evolved with technology. Smartphone apps are now a vital tool. 

Mr Neale constantly gets text messages sent to his mobile phone with changes to the prices of grain.

“Now there are a lot more options out there and people have to be smart about it,” he said. “It’s all about how you market your grain.

“Sometimes it can pay off to forward sell but you have to be careful (because) you can do your whole business doing that.”

Harvest has just begun around Elmore and Mr Neale said most farmers were satisfied with their crop. He said his barley yield was tracking well.

“We’re all pretty pleased at the moment. We’ve been very fortunate around Elmore.”

Mr Neale said it was good for everyone when harvest went well because the town prospered.

“It’d be really good for the area to have a good season,” he said.

The next few weeks mean a lot of time in the harvester for Mr Neale.

But although harvest will come to a close hopefully by Christmas time, the job is never really complete for a grain grower.

“I’ve been waiting all year for this day,”  Mr Neale said.

“It’s the end of 12 months’ work. 

“But today is also the first day of next year.”

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