Cold threat­ens big har­vest

The Sunday Times - - News - JENNE BRAMMER

BE­LOW-ZERO tem­per­a­tures across the Wheat­belt have likely wiped hun­dreds of thou­sands of tonnes from the State’s fore­cast bumper har­vest.

Crops in the south­east­ern Wheat­belt were hit hardest by tem­per­a­tures which fell in some places to -5C early yes­ter­day, just a day af­ter the Grain In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of WA re­leased its fore­cast for a 10 mil­lion tonne wheat and four mil­lion tonne bar­ley crop, pro­vided se­vere frosts could be avoided.

As­so­ci­a­tion spokesman Michael La­mond said the worst frost dam­age hap­pened when crops were flow­er­ing, and luck­ily for many grow­ers that was hap­pen­ing later than usual this year be­cause open­ing rains did not ar­rive in most ar­eas un­til the end of May.

He said bar­ley would be worst hit be­cause the crops were most ad­vanced and flow­er­ing, with some crops be­ing se­verely af­fected.

Mr La­mond said it would take about a week be­fore see­ing the true ex­tent of the dam­age.

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

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