Wimmera harvest 2017 sees northern farmers almost finished

FARMERS in the northern Wimmera and southern Mallee were racing against the clock last week to try to finish harvest before the forecast heavy rain.

Speed farmer Phil Down said despite frost damage in barley, the year was tracking as above average.

He said farmers were flat out last week trying to finish stripping before wet weather.

“We are fortunate we could get started so early,” he said.

Mr Down said barley yielded mixed results because of frost.

“The good thing in our area though, where it was frosted, it aborted the whole grain, so there was no issue with quality, but the yields just weren’t there,” he said.

Mr Down said overall he was quite pleased with this season’s harvest.

“Prices are quite good, which makes it easier,” he said.

“I also feel very fortunate because there are lots of places, especially to the north-west of us, that have had an ordinary time.

“We are definitely above average – barley was just above and wheat is considerably above, with really good quality.”

Rainbow grower Don Fisher said weather had held up harvest in his area.

He said yields had been average to above average.

“There was a bit of frost here and there,” she said.

“The barley might have been 10 to 15 per cent frosted but it was still a fairly good yield.”

Mr Fisher said quality had been good overall.

“We had a dry spring and our canola lost a lot of potential,” he said. “It finished up about average at nearly a tonne and a half. It’s oil was about 45 per cent.” 

Mr Fisher said most farmers in the region had been stripping barley, canola and lentils, but a few were on to wheat. He said the wet weather at the weekend shouldn’t damage crops.

“If it clears up and is windy we won’t get a lot of damage but if it stays humid for a few days we can get some damage,” he said.

Mr Fisher said overall the year was probably not as good as last year. “On a whole it will be above average though,” he said.

Hopetoun farmer Darren Bellinger said moved onto his final paddock last week after running for 18 hours a day. “Wheat was about 3.5 or four tonnes a hectare, lentils was 1.2 tonnes a hectare, vetch was 1.4 tonnes a hectare and oats was four tonnes a hectare,” he said.

Mr Bellinger said quality was also good.

“We just crossed our fingers and toes and feet and arms and everything has been not too bad,” he said.

“The year is probably about the same as other years – we’ve tried to get into it and get it off quickly before anything happens.”