A STORM early last week claimed more than 600 hectares of crop for the Jenzen family, North Cunderdin.
A whole crop of lupins was wiped out, with the majority of damage on nearby wheat crops.
Norm Jenzen said they received 45 millimetres of rain on the southern block and only 18mm at the main shed, 10 kilometres north.
“Our neighbours’ pasture paddock had run down and put silt up the side of our wheat crop because the rain just came down so quick and heavy,” Norm said.
“We had rain for a good half an hour prior to the hail, so I think it might have softened the heads a little bit.
“If it had been straight hail then we might have lost a bit more.”
Norm said it was a challenging year and there was not much they could do about it.
“It could have been worse,” he said.
Norm said hail hit the same line and the same paddock about six years ago.
“It seems to follow a valley,” he said.
“But we have a lot more crop in these days.”
He said in earlier days they ran sheep and didn’t notice the frost or hail damage as much, because the risk was spread.
“Now we won’t even harvest the lupins because they are absolutely gone with just the pods on the ground,” he said.
“It looks like we have harvested it and it’s just stubble left.”
Norm’s oldest son Nick is working full-time on the farm and witnessed the horrific storm first-hand.
“The way we look at it is you can’t sit there and cry about it,” Nick said.
“It’s not going to make it better, is it?
“We just need to get in and get it off and to try to see the positive, if there is any.”
Nick said in a worst-case scenario they have insurance cover on the crop.
Other areas east, including Tammin, were hit harder.
“They had the hail storm at the start of November as well, so we were pretty good here I think,” Nick said.
“You can see it all laying on the ground, which isn’t too pretty.”
Remaining positive Nick said, “we can’t do anything about it and we were pretty lucky to only lose that much”.
This year’s program has 2500ha of Scepter wheat, 800ha of barley, 800ha of canola, 400ha of lupins and 200ha of oats for hay.
The Jenzens are aiming to finish by Christmas.
“We are doing about 1000ha a week when the weather is good and the conditions are right,” Nick said.
“But I don’t know how much wheat we will have left south of here.
“We have to have the damage assessed, but we will still harvest all the wheat that’s there and we should at least get something back.”
Norm said yield-wise the crops were looking thin, but yielding well.
“It looks like a two-tonne crop but it’s more like a three-tonne crop,” he said.
“Even the barley was heavy but nothing has protein this year.
“You can’t have protein and yield.”
When Farm Weekly visited the Jenzens last Wednesday there was a concerted effort to strip the last 200ha of lupins that were going into a silo.
Nick said it was rare for everyone to be there at once, but due to the wet weather they hadn’t been working night shift and his brother Damian was home from shifts on the mines.
Nick said he usually worked from 1pm to 1am with harvest casual worker Billy Schorer, while Norm and sister Jess worked the day shift.
“Then my brother Damian and his girlfriend Georgia come up and give us a hand when Damian isn’t up on the mines with his job as an auto electrician,” Nick said.
The Jenzens also have a full-time worker who drives the truck at harvest.
“So it’s flat out all the time and we have a good few laughs,” Nick said.