HAIL insurance is a regular factor for Bindi Bindi farmer Toby Ellis, who said he wouldn’t sleep at night if his crop wasn’t covered.
After losing up to 50 per cent of his canola to hail in the first week of November, Mr Ellis then lost 350 hectares of wheat and lupins in a storm that passed through early last week.
“We seem to be in the line of it at the moment,” Mr Ellis said.
“I hate to say it but we usually get hail and we are starting to get used to it.
“The number of claims we have had over the past seven or eight years is quite a few.
“I would say probably every second year we are having hail events like this and we seem to be on a path that the storms go through.”
Mr Ellis said the main damage happened at his block closer to Calingiri with some paddocks completely wiped out.
“It looks like a bomb has gone off down there,” he said.
“I was up at Bindi Bindi where we had fires and we put all those out.
“Then my neighbour at Calingiri called me and said you might want to come down and have a look at the crops – a lot of them are 100pc gone.”
Mr Ellis said there may be a little less damage on other parts of the crops but it would still have to be assessed.
“We will still get to harvest after we have claimed, but it depends how bad it is,” he said.
“Some of the stuff I saw at Calingiri I won’t bother putting a header into because it’s 100pc gone.
“I haven’t checked the paddocks completely but we might have to drive the header around and pick up what we can in the wheat and lupins.
“But a lot of it’s on the ground and I’m not going to bother.”
The thunderstorm didn’t deliver a lot of rain to the Calingiri area with only nine millimetres falling on Mr Ellis’s block.
“It was more hail and wind that did the damage,” he said.
“Our home block at Bindi Bindi only received a few millimetres so it was very isolated.
“A few farmers less than a kilometres away had nothing at all, so it was just the luck of the draw.”
But the main thing Mr Ellis lost was his shed.
“It was a weird one because it actually blew down the opposite way to where the wind was coming from,” he said.
“So the wind was coming from the north west but it’s almost as if a south east wind has picked it up and just thrown it.”
Mr Ellis said they still have a fair way to go with their 3400ha program with about two to three weeks at Bindi Bindi and probably a week at Calingiri, or maybe less now.
“When we get down there (Calingiri) we will see how bad it essentially is but the header will be searching a bit for grain,” he said.
“We are usually done before Christmas but no way we are going to be this year with a very slow start to the season and it took a while to ripen everything up.”
While harvest was close he said the yields were fantastic.
“We will take yield every time,” he said.
“The protein is very low and we gave it three shots of nitrogen application throughout the year.
“Plus it’s on lupin stubbles and the protein is still only making the ASW grade.”
Mr Ellis said yield was always king.
“That’s where you make your money,” he said.