Tuesday 27 September 2016

Western Australian grain crops destroyed by frost

Severe frosts a bitter blow to WA farmers hoping for record harvest

Farmers across Western Australia's grain growing regions have been dealt a bitter blow, with their hopes of record crops dashed by frost just weeks before harvest.

26 September, 2016

Below freezing temperatures across the Wheatbelt, South West and Great Southern regions throughout September have brought several frosts, damaging what was shaping up to be a bumper grain crop.

Western Australia's main grain handler, the CBH Group, had predicted a crop of between 14 and 16 million tonnes.

Tammin farmer Tony York said the season was looking good after high winter rainfall, but the chance of a record harvest was now lim.

"This is probably a one in 20-year September, in terms of the number and severity of frosts," he said.

The frosts have not only affected isolated pockets. Large areas of farmland have suffered damage.

Losses expected to be in the millions for some farmers

Mr York believed he had only lost about 10 per cent of his crop, but other farmers had not been so lucky.

"In our own family business, probably $300,000 to $500,000 is probably a rough estimate of what we have lost," he said.
"There will be some other farmers who have had much more significant losses, probably in the millions of dollars."
Duty forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology Noel Puzey said there had been an above average number of frosts across the state this year, with another one forecast for early Thursday morning.

"It's unusual this year — we've had four or five fairly extensive events that I can recall," he said.

"It's quite an extensive area where temperatures have been at or below zero right through the Wheatbelt and Great Southern", Mr Puzey said.

The frosts come on top of plummeting grain prices, which are expected to fall further as farmers put more supply into the market during the harvest season.
"There's been quite an unprecedented drop in market prices, probably in the order of about 30 per cent in the last six months," Mr York said.
"So for those that have been carrying grain that's unfortunate and we all need to be mindful there could be a bit of pressure on prices coming up to harvest."
Some parts of the state will begin harvesting in the coming weeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.