Record chill blow to crops

Great Southern Herald - - News - Jenne Bram­mer

Newde­gate recorded its cold­est morn­ing on record last Satur­day as grain grow­ers count the cost of two frosts at the week­end.

In­land parts of the Great South­ern and south­ern Wheat­belt were hit the hard­est, with hun­dreds of thou­sands of tonnes to be wiped off the State’s fore­cast bumper har­vest.

Newde­gate fell to -4.3 at 6am on Satur­day, while other ar­eas in­clud­ing Katan­ning, Ongerup and Lake Grace fell to be­low zero.

Nyabing farmer Scott Crosby said his crops had just started flow­er­ing when the tem­per­a­ture dropped to -4C, de­liv­er­ing what could turn out to be a big blow to po­ten­tial yields.

“We were on track for aboveav­er­age yields. It’s too early to de­ter­mine dam­age, but it would be any­thing be­tween 10 and 50 per cent of our po­ten­tial in wheat, bar­ley and canola,” he said.

“It cer­tainly would have been worse, how­ever, if our crops were at a more ad­vanced stage.

“We are re­ally just hop­ing there are not more frosts, but we are ner­vous with more cold tem­per­a­tures ex­pected,” he said.

Mr Crosby said he was re­ally hop­ing for fol­low-up rains now as this would help counter some of the dam­age, but noth­ing was fore­cast for the next 10 days.

Mr Crosby said if dam­age was ex­ten­sive, he would have to cut the ce­real crops for hay, but the true im­pact would not show up for some time yet.

CBH chair­man Wally New­man, who farms at Newde­gate, said tem­per­a­tures plunged to -4C in his area — the cold­est lo­cal tem­per­a­tures on record. Mr New­man said be­cause crops were at a later stage, mean­ing flow­er­ing had barely started, frost dam­age to crops in that area would be min­imised.

Frosts re­main a risk to grain crops for about an­other two weeks.

Pic­ture: Jodie Jones

Frost on a Lake Grace oval.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.