Wet stalls harvest

Kate MatthewsCountryman
The West logo

Harvest plans for farmers across parts of the Wheatbelt, Great Southern and South Coast have been set back by at least two weeks after a week of rain and storms.

Caught near the eye of the storm last Thursday were PH Kerr and Co dealer principal Brian Kerr and Katanning salesman John Ayers-Dillion.

They had delivered a round baler for a demonstration west of Kojonup and had to pull off the road because the rain was so heavy.

"The wind was howling, driving the rain horizontal, branches were crashing down and visibility was very poor," Mr Ayers-Dillion said.

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"After the wind slowed, we ventured on only to make it another kilometre down the road when we were stopped by a large gum tree that had fallen across the road."

Luckily, local farmers Wayne Robinson and Lou Smit helped clear the debris.

Along the South Coast, the rain has been met with mixed reaction by local vegetable growers.

Blueberry growers Andre Roy and Amanda Noack, from Eden Gate at Youngs Siding, recorded 24mm over four days last week.

Mr Roy said there had been no damage to his berries and started picking the first punnets on Friday for the local farmers' market.

"The rain was very good for the berries and the more rain we get in summer the better because it means we can leave the irrigation off as long as possible," he said.

Vegetable grower Howard Shapland, who farms between Albany and Denmark, said waterlogging had caused losses on low lying areas and would delay planting of some vegetables, including pumpkins.

At Elleker, potato grower Chris Westcott recorded 50mm on Friday.

"It will be at least two to three weeks before we can do anything. Normally we start planting in early November," he said.

Three years ago, Mr Westcott had just started sowing his potato crop when 100mm of rain in one day caused flooding during one of the wettest Novembers on record for Albany growers.

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