Bad weather across the country is degrading the quality of one of the largest winter crops on record.
Favorable seasonal conditionsled the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Economics and Sciences and Resources (ABARES) to predict in September that total agricultural production would surpass the $ 70 billion mark for the first time, but experts say Australian crops could lose billions in value due to weather conditions. .
Like the Australian Bureau of Meteorology declared a La Nina weather event in the Pacific on Tuesday, farmers are already feeling the effects firsthand.
Richard Heath, the direct or executive executive of the Australian Farm Institute, said the forecast would be " certainly "lower than expected.
" The weather was extraordinary all over the country, all the cultivation areas were reVery untimely rains. "
" The fact that it was a cool temperate spring added to crop yields being so good but the flip side is now we 'We have entered harvest time and La Nina is really expressing itself and we have received all this rain, ”Heath said.
Brett Hosking, president of Grain Growers and a farmer from Quambatook, said the economic losses would be significant, " perhaps tens of millions ".
With the floodwaters still moving and the forecast for heavy precipitation ahead, he said it was too early to be able to provide a more accurate estimate of the losses.
Some growers have avoided rainfall because summer rainfall tends to be isolated storms that can impact one grower and not another, Ho saidsking.
"Producers call it the storm lotto " he said.
Andrew Whitelaw, analyst at Thomas Elder Markets, predicted that the economic loss would likely run into the billions of dollars and called the situation " frightening ".
Whitelaw said previous wet crops have generally been concentrated in a single area, but conditions this year were unusual seeing downgraded crops across the country, especially in New South Wales, in Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.
"We were going to produce a massive crop, but the quality of this crop is declining ", Whitelaw said.
"In Australia, we produce high protein wheat which is good for the production of human foods such as bread and pasta. But what happens when you have a wet weather event during harvest [is] it tends to break down protein ... by changing wheat from a good quality grain to a forage quality grain. "
Andrew Watson, a grain farmer from the Liverpool plains, said that it had had 105mm of rain since Saturday, after 70mm the previous weekend.
Without rain, Watson's durham wheat crop would have received a prize of top quality, but the 10% already harvested was downgraded due to rain. He said the remaining 90% would still be downgraded to feed wheat, if he can harvest it - a reduction that will cost him around $ 500 per tonne p.our 3,000 tonnes of grain.
Whitelaw says that for many people, producing an inferior crop will be the best of times, as the risk is much worse for those who have had cultures completely wiped out by the flood and no income and no insurance to claim for this circumstance.
"For those who had a complete wipe out, you would also have well may have had a drought. But with a drought you wouldn't have spent so much money growing the crop, "which this year has been more expensive than usual due to factors such as the data fertilizer prices higher than d 'habit according to Whitelaw.
Much of Wa's unharvested fieldstson are also flooded right now.
"It's not just rain, it's okay underwater, bathing. is heartbreaking enough, ”Watson said.
He is also worried about his next summer cotton crop, which is underwater and will not survive if the 'water continues to flow.
Dylan Hirsch, a grain farmer in the northern wheat belt of Western Australia, said this had been the One of their wettest years on record. While this had generally been positive for growing conditions in the region, extensive frost damage had seen farmers lose around 35% of their wheat yield and 10- 15% barley.
Hirsch said the quality of many crops "is not great to begin with ", but farmers are hoping avoid further rains which would cause degradation.
Mark Swift, a grain and chickpea grower outside of Hfrance.fr, said damage to his crops would be "imminent" compared to 50-100mm expected in the area over the next few days.
Enter having a big crop, knowing it will be damaged but not being able to do anything about it , Swift says "it's just a shit sandwich ".
"The cruelty is that we have crops ripe enough to be damaged but not ripe enough to harvest, "he said.
Watson said that amid the damage there were silver liners.
"The flip side is that we have water in our dams for irrigation, the current growing summer crops [corn , sorghum and cotton] all have total moisture in the soil, so they will grow very well and grass will grow small.nd our cattle [means] they will all be big, "Watson said.
A spokesperson for the department told The Guardian that the effect recent adverse weather events would be factored into the forthcoming Australian ABARES harvest forecast for next month.