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Erratic weather in Victoria causes grief for grain growers
Story by | Added 09-11-2015 | Source | Leave a Comment

Flash flooding in north-western Victoria this week is a far cry from the below average to lowest October rainfall on record for the central and western areas of the state.

More than 70 millimetres of rain fell at Murrayville in 40 minutes on Wednesday breaking the town's 24-hour rainfall record.

This was just days after a large hailstorm hit parts of the state.

"We had a pretty severe hailstorm on Saturday night with hail the size of marbles, but in other areas the size of golf balls," Victorian Farmers' Federation president and Pyramid Hill farmer, Peter Tuohey said.

"I've heard of some growers losing up to 30 per cent of their crops.

"The worst part about it, after a long hard season, it's not really what you want.

"Yeah got a cracked windscreen. It's a bit frightening driving through a hailstorm when you get hail stones as big as marbles coming down fairly heavily.

"The road was covered in hailstones. Not something that I want to do every day."

Crops were crying out for rain last month and now wet and stormy conditions are hampering grain harvests.

Underbool grain grower, Andrew Willsmore, said he had not seen rain like this for a very long time.

"It's as torrential as you're ever going to see," he said.

"There wasn't a lot of wind with the rain though, so not too much damage to the crops.

"But it was a 20-minute event that you don't want to see in the middle of harvest."
Richard Williams at Yalca North said he had to cut crops for hay last month because it was so dry.

"Three hundred acres of wheat we knocked down for hay and another bit of canola for silage as well," he said.

"We're about to start harvesting canola as soon as it dries out now.

"It's blown a lot of irrigated wheat over, which won't do it any good, but hopefully we can pick it up alright.

"It would have been great to get this rain six weeks ago. It would have made a bloody good year out of it."

While there were some crops that would not be recovered, Victorian Farmers' Federation grains group president Brett Hosking said grain downgrades were unlikely.

"I heard one story of a pea crop that was completely flattened and the grower doesn't believe that it will be retrieved," he said.

"However it is early in the harvest season in Victoria. I would be very surprised to be hearing stories of downgraded grain. I don't believe there would be any reason to be pulling machines or anything like that.

"I think the quality of the grain will remain quite high and once it dries out, growers will be back into it at a frantic rate."





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