November 21, 2017 1:00pm
FROSTS have wiped as much as $180 million from the value of Victoria’s winter crop.
That’s the early estimate from the Victorian Government after the late spring snap ripped across western and central Victoria this month, causing extensive damage to wheat and legumes.
Some Western District growers have reported their whole crops being destroyed just weeks from what was shaping up as a bumper harvest. The worst frost hit on November 4.
Agriculture Victoria’s southwest grains regional manager Rob O’Shannessy estimated farmer losses from the frosts at $100-$180 million.
The figure is expected to climb once losses for Grampians and Pyrenees wine grapes and Swan Hill stonefruit are factored in.
“Damage ranges from 10 per cent of affected crop to 100 per cent wipe-out, depending on topography, moisture and a range of other issues,” Mr O’Shannessy said.
“The frosts have been a cruel blow to growers when they were rightly thinking that they were close to harvest and to getting very good yields.”
Scott Blurton, who farms at Westmere and Streatham, estimated about half of his wheat crop was a complete write-off, but said he was fortunate as “some to the north of us have lost 90-100 per cent of their whole crop, it just got so much colder up there”.
“It’s a real kick in the guts this late in the season, as all the money is spent … we were looking at above-average crops,” Mr Blurton said.
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H/t Piers Corbyn