Cold threatens big harvest
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.