West Australian grain crop downgraded 18 per cent thanks to frost damage

07.11.2016

Western Australia's total grain harvest has again been downgraded, with the Grains Industry Association of WA wiping 1.5 million tonnes from expected yields.

The downgrade means 18 per cent of the state's grain has now been lost to frost this year.

GIWA's Alan Meldrum said while there was still just over 15 million tonnes of grain expected, the cold snaps have hurt yields significantly.

"It's been quite severe and it wasn't one frost it was multiple frosts, which had a cumulative effect of knocking individual crops around quite significantly," he said.

"And we're very sad on their behalf to hear that they've suffered some big losses across the board.

"It means the cream of the West Australian crop has been taken out by these multiple frosts."

Mr Meldrum said farmer disappointment had been compounded given how well the growing season started.

"We were getting close to around 18 million tonnes in September when conditions were looking particularly good.

"We knew that there was a threat of frost but we could only hope and pray it didn't happen.

    "Now we're down to about 15 million tonnes so we've taken about 3 million tonnes off the expected tonnage at this point."

Mr Meldrum said barley and wheat have borne the brunt of the frost damage.

GIWA expects wheat yields will be about 9 million tonnes, down about 13 per cent on the October forecast.

The forecast for barley, which Mr Meldrum said had been "affected quite badly", has fallen 16 per cent to 2.7 million tonnes.

He said the revised canola forecasts offered some hope for growers.

"Canola has actually gone up, we've actually increased the potential for canola to produce grain and we've gone for 1.7 million tonnes which is about 2 per cent more than the October forecast.

"It's very hard to know what paddock averages are going to be, although in some cases of course it's quite obvious that they are going to be terrible.

"But to a large extent, we really don't know and it depends if you are an optimist or a pessimist."


abc

Readers choice: TOP-5 articles of the month by UkrAgroConsult