Farmers face a nervous wait after a summer deluge threw harvest proceedings into disarray on Friday.
Junee Reefs farmer Bernard Hart hasn’t finished harvesting yet. Picture: Les Smith
Mother Nature is not playing nicely with our farmers, who are being forced to endure a prolonged harvest due to weather extremes.
Friday’s rain is just another setback for those working on the land, with reports of up to 100mm of rain falling in areas of the Riverina.
It comes as an already delayed harvest season has been intermittent due to cease harvest orders due to dangerous fire conditions.
Skies in the Riverina showed signs of clearing late on Friday afternoon, which would be a blessing for farmers relying on dry weather to finish off their winter crops.
Barmedman farmer Darryl Harper, whose propertyreceived 50mm of rain, said he would be anxiously waiting the next few days to see how the rest of his crop will fare.
“We don’t know if there’ll be any downgrading of crops,” Mr Harper said.
“We’re really hoping this rain hasn’t caused sprouting.
“We won’t be finished (harvest) by Christmas.”
Junee Reefs farmer Bernard Hart admitted the rain wasn’t good news for farmers struggling to finish their harvest, but if the weather returns to typical summer conditions, there won’t be too much damage to crops.
“Historically, one rain event will not do too much damage unless conditions are hot and humid,” Mr Hart said.
“I don’t think we’ll be doing anything over the weekend.
“It could lighten (harvest weights), but yields have been exceptionally good this year.”
“I don’t think we’ve been harvesting for more than five days without having to stop for a cease harvest or rain.
“We work very hard all year and to have it dragged out (is frustrating). I doubt many will be finished by Christmas.
Mr Hart said low wheat prices were “disastrous”, but record yields have softened the blow.
“If (yields)weren’t as good as they are, farmers would have struggled to break even.
Australian Wheat Board grain merchant Tim King added that growers were nervous, but remained optimistic the inclement weather was only a minor blip on the radar.
He said western Riverina farmers were around “80 to 90 per cent” done.
“We’re about two to three weeks later than usual,” Mr King said.
“If we get clear weather from now we should be fine.
“A lot of growers are a fair way through –if we had (a similar rain event) three weeks ago, there would have been a lot of nervous people.
He said GrainFlow’s site at Grong Grong would be closed for a few days while farmers wait for moisture levels to drop, adding that wheat prices shouldn’t be “affected a great deal”.
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