The Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural) is investigating the wilful damage of an Organically Certified potato and garlic crop in the Mount Sylvia area in August 2017. Police allege someone introduced herbicide into the irrigation system on the farm, causing the loss of the potato and garlic crop and the contamination of the soil.
Australia had its driest September on record last month, and though spring rains are forecast this week across parts of the continent’s east that has seen the worst drought in years, the season is predicted to offer little relief from the dry weather. The country’s east coast has recorded less than a fifth of its typical rainfall over the last three months to September and is barren, with winter crops failed and graziers buying in grain to feed their herds.
Total grain production for Australia in 2018-19 is being wound back by as much as four million tonnes, with a higher percentage of cereal cut for hay and increased number of crops damaged by frost. It comes as tomorrow’s AFL Grand Final Day marks the ‘point of no return’ for many grain growers; if sufficient rain hasn’t fallen by the last weekend in September, the season could be considered a write-off.
WA’s hopes of delivering a record grain harvest have been shattered following widespread frosts two weeks ago and dry September conditions which mean crops are still waiting for vital finishing rains. Until 10 days ago, ABARES and the Grain Industry Association of WA were predicting a bumper WA crop of at least 16.3 million tonnes after near perfect conditions and regular rainfall across the Wheatbelt meant crops were thriving.
Widespread and severe frosts centred on Western Australia’s Great Southern region have slashed at least one million tonnes (Mt) from the state’s expected winter crop, which was forecast by the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) on Friday at 16.3Mt GIWA’s oilseeds council chair, Michael Lamond, said while GIWA on Friday said the state’s barley crop had the potential to hit a record 4Mt, it could drop to as low as 3Mt as a result of the weekend frost.
A record-breaking cold spell in Western Australia's agricultural heartland has shattered farmers' hopes of enjoying a bumper crop harvest. Temperatures in the southern Wheatbelt dipped between 0 and minus 5 degrees Celsius on both Saturday and Sunday morning, while the Great Southern town of Newdegate recorded its lowest-ever temperature of minus 4.3 degrees.
Asian flour millers are expected to seek rare wheat shipments from Argentina in coming months as a second year of drought in traditional supplier Australia curbs supplies. At present, Asian wheat importers, including the world's biggest buyer Indonesia, are buying most of their wheat from the Black Sea region.
The periods of heavy drought that rocked Eastern Australia this year have had their predicted effect, as the damage to crops and livestock has destroyed a sizable proportion of the total grain crop. Reports from ABARES, the government’s forecaster for commodities, show a year-on-year drop of 12% in winter grain production.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences quantified the hypothetical damage bill from an outbreak of the wheat rust strain in a report published last week, highlighting the importance of keeping Australia’s $6 billion wheat industry free of the disease. According to the report, the most severe and recent outbreak of wheat rust was the 1973 event, estimated to have cost the wheat industry between $200 million and $300 million.
The worst drought in living memory is sweeping parts of eastern Australia, leaving farmers struggling to cope and asking questions about their future. Record-low rainfall in some regions and successive seasons of above-average temperatures have blighted vast tracts of Australia's grazing and crop land. While the weather has improved in parts of Western Australia, winter rain has gone missing across much of the country’s east, leaving farmers praying for rain after planting seed in dry soil or culling cattle and sheep they can no longer afford to feed.
Drier conditions in autumn and early winter will affect crop estimates across South Australia, including the Lower Murray and Southern Murray Mallee areas according to the July PIRSA Crop and Pasture Report. The estimate for the state’s 2018-19 grain harvest is now standing at 6.9 million tonnes, which is below the long-term average of 7.9m/t.
The worsening drought in Eastern Australia is resulting in increasingly difficult conditions for businesses right across the agriculture sector. And if official weather forecasts hold firm, it looks like things will be tough for some time to come. Highlighting the impact of weather on the near-term earnings outlook for businesses exposed to the agriculture value chain.