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Harvest weather bizarre

Farmers have been left wondering what has happened to the typical dry and dusty summer in the Wheatbelt, as unseasonal thunderstorms continue to wreak havoc on their annual hay baling and grain harvest. Farms in the South-West were flooded and left without power after storms over the weekend and grain growers in the Great Southern face ONE OF THEIR LATEST FINISHES TO HARVEST. Wet weather was causing significant delays for grain growers, particularly in the southern regions. Farmers in the Albany zone, from the south coast north-east to Hyden, had delivered just 40 per cent of their expected total grain tonnage. The harvest is expected run into February in some southern areas, compared with a usual finish around mid-January. The Albany zone was expected to deliver a record 2.8 million tonne harvest this year, boosted by better yields and bigger plantings. But frequent unseasonal rainfall, and in some cases hail, was expected to reduce the overall tonnage and affect grain quality. One property west of Kojonup had 215mm since early November, about 40 per cent of the ANNUAL average. The bizarre weather made for a frustrating finish to the season. Hail damaged canola paddocks, frost wiped out part of the barley crop and heavy late rains reduced wheat quality in some cases. “If that rain had been spread out through the year, it would have made for a good season.”

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