Rain, hail, snow

30 Oct, 2007 09:00 PM
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FRUSTRATED farmers won’t know the extent of crop damage caused by heavy rain and hail last weekend until harvesting resumes today.

While there are concerns that some barley crops may be reduced in quality from malt to feed grade, it appears most fields suffered little damage.

The big talking point were the low temperatures, snow which fell on the Stirling Ranges and forecasted drizzle for Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Profarmer managing editor Richard Koch said the weekend’s rain may have damaged the quality of some crops but it would have little bearing on the final production figure for this year’s harvest.

“The expectation for this year’s crop was far better than last year’s final volume which was dramatically impacted by the drought,” he said.

“We expect a yield of around 8.91 million tones of grain this year, with wheat comprising 6mt of that figure.

“The remaining volume will be made up of 1.8mt of barley, 400,000t of canola, 300,000t of lupins and the remaining 410,000t of other grains, including oats and field peas.”

Key statistics from Profarmer and the Agriculture Department had indicated a yield almost 30pc higher than the 6.4mt delivered to CBH bins last year.

“Our statistics have shown that the crop’s performance has been well ahead of last year’s levels throughout this season,” Mr Koch said.

“There was more crops planted to start with and its growth in most areas has been higher all the way through.”

The weekend weather took the shine off what had been a positive start for Esperance farmers who cranked up headers last week to harvest high-yielding barley crops.

Beaumont farmer Bindi Longmire said the family property had received 39mm of rain.

“Fortunately we didn’t get any hail and my husband Phil had finished picking up all the canola before the rain came,” she said.

“He made a decision not to go into the barley because of the impending rain and that was the right decision.

“We’re just hoping we get a run of fine weather soon to get crops off as quickly as possible.

“We’ve had this sort of thing before so you’ve just got to keep positive.”

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