Hail icing on cake of poor season

Golf-ball sized: Hail damaged a number of chickpea crops near Narrabri and Edgeroi last week with up to 30 per cent of pods ending up on the ground. This photo was posted on the Narrabri Noticeboard Facebook page.

Golf-ball sized: Hail damaged a number of chickpea crops near Narrabri and Edgeroi last week with up to 30 per cent of pods ending up on the ground. This photo was posted on the Narrabri Noticeboard Facebook page.

Pockets of hail have severely damaged areas of crops around Narrabri and Edgeroi.

Narrow bands of storms deposited hail stones from the size of marbles up to golf-balls, that smashed into crops on the verge of harvest. 

Chickpeas suffered the most from the hail, with less damage to wheat and canola.

Narrabri-based agronomist Drew Penberthy said chickpeas were the worst affected, with estimates of around 30 per cent losses.

“There was a narrow strip of hail at Narrabri and just north of Edgeroi,” he said.

“There are some [chickpea] pods sitting on the branch that are only just sitting there,” he said. 

“About 30 per cent is on the ground. 

“If we get a bit of a wind storm it could be more.” 

The damage to the plants could also pose problems at harvest time. Mr Penberthy said more pods could be lost during heading.

At one farm, just on the outskirts of Narrabri, the manager reported the estimated 70km per hour winds did nearly as much damage to the chickpea crops as the hail.