Wimmera harvest 2017: East Wimmera farmers are feeling the affects of frost

IN THE PADDOCK: Brad Robinson harvests hail-damaged canola at Chris Drum's property at Banyena last week. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI
IN THE PADDOCK: Brad Robinson harvests hail-damaged canola at Chris Drum's property at Banyena last week. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

MANY growers in the Wimmera’s eastern areas were hit with bad luck twice as frost and storms damaged matured crops.

However, crops escaped original forecasts of extreme wet weather last week.

Banyena farmer Chris Drum said hail and frost had been an issue for his crops.

So far, he has stripped canola and barley.

”We did half our barley and thought we better get onto canola before something happened but then we got a massive hail storm – we should have gone a bit earlier,” he said.

Mr Drum said he still had a fair bit of barley to go, but overall yields had been above average.

“But we know we are probably doing the best ones first because we know there is plenty of pain coming along,” he said.

“The lentils have been frosted quite badly and so are the chickpeas, and we had the hail storm go through the canola. “The quality will be no good in the lentils – very few people have got quality lentils around this area.

Mr Drum said there wasn’t much growers to do about the frost.

“Where lentils have been frosted you’ve basically got stock feed, the quality has gone completely out of it,” he said. “It’s a 25 per cent hit this year with lentils, whereas if the same thing happened last year it would more be like a 65 per cent hit, so I am glad it happened this year and not last year.”

Mr Drum said prices were better than they were last year too, especially for cereals and canola. 

Murtoa farmer Leo Delahunty also had issues with frost in lentils.

“In the lentils the yield was very good, but quality was quite variable,” he said.

“We had some solidly frost affected, and other parts affected to a lesser degree.

"We will have to clean all our lentils and hopefully they will be okay after that process.”

Mr Delahunty said he received 34 millimetres of rain overnight on Thursday.

“Hopefully the crops should be okay given the cool and breezy weather we've had since the rain,” he said.

"We'd had a wonderful run before the rain – we'd done about 40 per cent of harvest.

"We'd done all of our canola and just about all the lentils.  We are very happy with the way things are progressing.”

Mr Delahunty said quality and yields on canola were excellent.

"We'll be going straight onto barley this week,” he said.

“Our expectations are that the yields will be very good, and quality we're hoping will be good, but we won't know until we get in there.

"We're looking forward to getting back into the cereal crops and hopefully we won't have received any damage from the rain."