Flooding at Salmon Gums.

Hail damage and heavy falls halts harvest

Main Image: Flooding at Salmon Gums. Credit: Sam Starcevich

Shannon VerhagenCountryman

Rainfall sweeping across the State has put a halt on harvest for many growers, while hail has wreaked havoc on some crops in the northern grainbelt.

Following last weekend’s falls, many farmers had just fired up the headers after letting their crops dry out when the skies opened up again on Monday.

Michelle Silvio-Miller's property flooding in Dudinin.
Camera IconMichelle Silvio-Miller's property flooding in Dudinin.

From Geraldton to Esperance, growers have tipped out between 10-70mm from their gauges in the past 10 days.

It has seen receivals slow at many CBH sites as growers once again wait for the moisture to dry.

Storm clouds over hay stubble and standing wheat at Woodanilling sheep producer Bindi Murray's property last week.
Camera IconStorm clouds over hay stubble and standing wheat at Woodanilling sheep producer Bindi Murray's property last week.

Steve Tomkin’s Eganu property got hit three times, receiving 13mm last Sunday, another 13mm alongside hail during Thursday night’s thunderstorm and a downpour of 20mm in three hours on Tuesday.

The hail damaged about 40 per cent of their 400ha barley and rye program, but Mr Tomkins remained positive about the year’s crops.

At this stage the crops are holding up OK apart from the hail damage.

Steve Tomkins

“The crops are yielding stupidly well given the lack of growing season rain.”

A dam overflowing at James Bennett's Dumbleyung property.
Camera IconA dam overflowing at James Bennett's Dumbleyung property.

Dumbleyung grain grower James Bennett was forced to cancel his plans to resume harvest on Tuesday, when another 10-12mm fell, bringing his total for the 10 days prior to 58mm.

It’s going to be one of those frustrating, stop-start harvests.

James Bennett

“I don’t think there’s been any damage as such but it has put a halt to harvest, I think it’s just been a hindrance.”

Flooding at Salmon Gums.
Camera IconFlooding at Salmon Gums. Credit: Sam Starcevich

Roads were turned to rivers on Sam Starcevich’s Salmon Gums property, where 46-70mm fell in just 24 hours from last Sunday evening.

She said the crops were already poor from lack of rain this year, but the downpour had at least filled the dams and tanks and after carting water on and off for about a year, they would not have to this summer.

In the seven days to November 6, 881,900 tonnes were received across CBH receival sites, taking total harvest deliveries to 1.9 million tonnes.

A rain storm in Pemberton dropped 30mm on the weekend at Aimee Bendotti's family farm.
Camera IconA rain storm in Pemberton dropped 30mm on the weekend at Aimee Bendotti's family farm. Credit: Aimee Bendotti

Chief operations officer Ben Macnamara said the company was closely monitoring the impact of the wet conditions to ensure the appropriate services would be available.

“Last year we experienced a relatively dry, uninterrupted harvest which allowed us to receive the WA crop in a short amount of time,” he said.

“This year we’ve already seen two rain events halt activity.”