Wimmera harvest 2017 mixed with strong yields and frost | Photos


IN A year of extremes, many growers are reporting above average yields as the season comes to an end.

Throughout the year, Wimmera farmers faced issued with mice, dry winter continues and a devastating November frost.

This was followed by forecasts of extreme wet weather at the weekend, causing many farmers to race against the clock to try to store as much grain as possible.

Fortunately, most places in the region recorded between 20 millimetres and 40 millimetres on Friday – a far cry from the 100 millimetres that was predicted.

Murra Warra farmer and Victorian Farmers Federation vice-president David Jochinke said some areas had reported excellent quality barley and canola.

"It is a bit of a mixed bag as far as quality goes, but overall there are reasonable reports that most people are having a decent harvest,” he said.

Rupanyup farmer and Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann said overall most growers were pretty happy with how harvest was tracking.

“We got a ‘get-out-of-jail-free card’ when we didn’t get the wet weather forecast at the weekend,” he said.

“People have just about finished harvest in parts of the Mallee – everyone put the pedal to the metal to get done before the rain.

“Overall, the grain seems to be coming off really quick and in a few weeks, I think we’ll see most Wimmera farmers finished.”

Mr Weidemann said frost mostly hit farmers between Nhill and St Arnaud.

“Depending on how much frosted grain people have, most seem to be reasonably happy with the season,” he said.

“People are optimistic that prices will lift in the new year – crops are coming off faster than we could imagine but where it will end up is the question, I think a lot will be stored on farms.”

Mr Weidemann said it had been an exceptional year for canola for many growers.

He said barley yields had also been strong.

Nhill farmer Andrew Colbert said most people resumed harvest on Tuesday after the rain. He said canola yields and oil had been as good as last year, which was his best year ever.

"The crop looked good but canola is a hard one to estimate,” he said.

"Barley yielded better than expected and quality is better than expected.

"We weren't affected by the late frost, but we were hit by frosts earlier in the season.”​