Wimmera harvest 2017 frost damage still unknown

AMAGE: Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford inspects frost-damaged wheat with growers Bruce McKay and Andrew Laidlaw at their Ararat property. Picture: ANDREW MILLER
AMAGE: Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford inspects frost-damaged wheat with growers Bruce McKay and Andrew Laidlaw at their Ararat property. Picture: ANDREW MILLER

WIMMERA growers are still waiting to find out how much damage a late November frost had on the region’s crops.

The frost on November 4 wiped out many lentil crops in the Wimmera and cereals in paddocks closer to Ararat.

Glenlee farmer Nathan Albrecht said his chickpeas were frosted but the damage was still unknown.

“We can't judge the percentage until we get the headers in – it will be right up there though," he said.

Ararat grower Andrew Laidlaw said the full effects from frost would be fully felt in about six months time.

He anticipated crop losses of up to 50 per cent, at an estimated value of more than $600,000 to $700,000, mainly in cereals. “To lose it that late, was pretty brutal and especially after such a good season; a lot of investment has gone in to these crops,” he said.

“I think, come May-June next year, when everyone is trying to put their crop in again and having to go back for extra finance, that will be when the pinch is on.

“But we’ll move on, remain positive, and have another go next year.” 

Kaniva farmer Alwyn Dyer said his chickpeas were decimated by the frost.

“We went from having one of the best chickpea crops we have ever had to one of the worst crops,” he said.