Abnormal Weather Hits Australian Grain

Blazing heat mixed with heavy rain seems to be taking the shine off what was promising to be a pretty decent grain crop Down Under.

As of Monday morning, the average maximum temperature for November across Victoria was 6.3 degrees above normal. A fortnight or more of successive days with temperatures 30-35C has seen crops losing quality and quantity at disturbing rates, say agronomists.

Quality of grain is becoming an issue with growers who's crops were green during the heat wave having been tipped and therefore the grain that in that part of the head will become pinched, they say.

Another factor affecting production this year is that growers have really tightened their purse strings after the past few tough seasons. A majority of growers have gone with the cheaper method and only applied Map/Dap at sowing which has this year shown to not be enough within continuous cropping enterprises, they add.

The Victorian Farmers Federation said that both the heat and rain had hurt this season's harvest. He said hot weather had pinched grain in barley and wheat crops and the rain had brought harvest to a standstill. Follow-up rain later this week was of even greater concern.

"We don't want another 25mm now on top of what we've already got," they said.

Heavy rain over western NSW and Victoria overnight and will continue to spread east during Thursday. Some areas could see their heaviest totals since around March with up to 40mm expected, say Elders Weather.