Australia is experiencing a slightly unsteady market at the moment, and circumstances could soon become even more unstable. The nation appears to be set for yet another year of persistent drought. A lack of rain wiped out the profits of many farmers last year. The federal government had to dip into allocated savings to reimburse farmers who lost out on any chance of bumper crops as the climate continues to grow warmer.
IT was a record breaking week for the Kwinana zone last week with 7.7 million tonnes of grain delivered so far for the harvest season. The zone received about 350,000 tonnes last week pushing it past the previous grain receival record of 7.5mt. This takes total receivals to 15.7mt up to last Friday. "Yields have been higher than anticipated across most parts of the Kwinana zone after a favourable season, leading to a record-breaking harvest for the zone," CBH Operations acting general manager Ben Raisbeck said.
A storm early last week claimed more than 600 hectares of crop for the Jenzen family, North Cunderdin. A whole crop of lupins was wiped out, with the majority of damage on nearby wheat crops. Norm Jenzen said they received 45 millimetres of rain on the southern block and only 18mm at the main shed, 10 kilometres north. “Our neighbours’ pasture paddock had run down and put silt up the side of our wheat crop because the rain just came down so quick and heavy,” Norm said.
Hail insurance is a regular factor for Bindi Bindi farmer Toby Ellis, who said he wouldn’t sleep at night if his crop wasn’t covered. After losing up to 50 per cent of his canola to hail in the first week of November, Mr Ellis then lost 350 hectares of wheat and lupins in a storm that passed through early last week.
A close collaboration between eastern and western Australian regions has strengthened the capabilities of the Goulburn Murray Valley to rid the region of the Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF). Effective area-wide management has been applied to the two regions to control the QFF locally and the Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Medfly) further afield, in the west.
Thieves have stolen a garlic grower’s entire crop — estimated to be worth up to $15,000 — just a week before harvest. It is believed 300kg to 400kg of garlic was stolen straight out of the ground from the Cockatoo farm, north of Pakenham, overnight between Sunday, November 25 and Tuesday, November 27.
Tony Griffiths, a sheep and barley farmer, is facing hard times. He's sold 1500 of his 3000 sheep and plans to sell 700 more in 2019 to curb the growing loss he’s facing, already at $150,000 this year. "Rainfall’s usually 400-450mm, it’s 180mm this year," he said. "We don’t have enough feed for our sheep. This year’s the worst on record since 1966 and no one’s doing anything about it."
Australia's winter crop looks worse than initially predicted after the driest September on record and significant frost damage. With harvests underway across most of the country, the latest forecast by the Australian government commodity forecaster ABARES puts crop production 20 per cent below the 20-year-average and the lowest since Australia's last drought in 2008-09.
Farmers are counting the cost of hail storms, heavy rain and strong winds that tore through the central Wheatbelt on Monday afternoon. The wild weather event, which stretched across areas including Bolgart and North Tammin to Southern Cross, in places dumped more than 40mm of rain, while crops were pelted with 3cm hailstones and lightning strikes caused spot fires.
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