GROWERS in the region’s west are struggling with a season that is proving worse than the year before.
The region was the hardest hit with drought this year, and West Wimmera Shire is the only Victorian shire to be officially drought declared.
Kaniva farmer Wal Meyer finished harvest in November, for the first time in history.
“The quantity reflected the low rainfall we had,” he said.
“However, because of stubble retention and no-till farming, we were still able to get a harvest, even though the quantity was small.
“Crops were sown early too.”
Mr Meyer said crops on rising soil were on par with expectations, but crops on black soil paid the price of the season.
“Those crops were hit with frost, dry conditions and everything was blasted by the hot weather we had,” he said.
“Yields varied from what we expected to zero.
“The West Wimmera was the hardest hit with drought so now everyone will have to batten down the hatches to survive with the little income received.”
Mr Meyer said canola had surprising results.
“There has been some unnecessary readiness to drop canola from the rotation for some growers, but it goes alright,” he said.
Glenlee farmer Nathan Albrecht said this year’s harvest was about half of what he got last year.
“We are about three-quarters of the way through now, about halfway through wheat, and we have chickpeas, and beans still to go,” he said.
“Yields are well below average.
“Last year was a better year for us, even though last year wasn’t great.”
Mr Albrecht said he started at the end of October with vetch.
“We are able to get a little bit of feed back from that – anything you can get in a year like this is a bonus,” he said.
“Overall it has been not too bad considering the season and rainfall we have had.”
Mr Albrecht said they should be finished in about eight to 10 days.
“That’s if we don’t get as many total fire ban days and windy days,” he said.
“The weather has been frustrating, but there is nothing you can do about it.
“Even on non total fire ban days, the wind has been blowing so hard it just takes the grain straight out of the header.”
Nhill farmer Andrew Colbert said harvest was going like he thought it would.
“Wheat quality has been good, but barley has been equally poor,” he said.
“We haven’t harvested all our paddocks yet, so we will still wait and see.”
Mr Colbert said the year was worse than last year.
“It’s about equal to a 2002 or 2006 year,” he said.
“We’ve still got about two weeks left though.”
Edenhope’s Richard Wait said harvest in the region had been disappointing.
“I’ve heard of canola going 1.2 tonnes a hectare, and beans have been small.”