Moree agronomist Peter Birch hoping rain will ease to allow harvest to resume

SETBACK: Farmers in the northern part of the region will be hoping to harvest their crops before more predicted rain arrives later this week. Photo: Dimity Smith
SETBACK: Farmers in the northern part of the region will be hoping to harvest their crops before more predicted rain arrives later this week. Photo: Dimity Smith

THE weekend's storms have left farmers in the northern part of the region facing a nervous wait to be able to harvest their crops.

Growers in the Moree district will be hoping the weather remains dry for the rest of the week, after some areas received as much as 30mm to 120mm of rain over the weekend.

Moree agronomist Peter Birch said while most farmers had luckily escaped losing their crops to the weather event, more rain could cause some healthy crops to be downgraded.

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"The rain has been patchy and sort of faded out towards the end of the weekend, meaning some people will be able to get back out there by tomorrow [Tuesday]," Mr Birch said.

"South of Moree, some crops were planted a bit later and the rain might of really helped, where it was planted earlier you might have copped a bit of damage, depending on what kind of weather you were under.

"There was quite a bit of hail on Thursday and some of the country on both sides of the border near Mungindi got totally smashed.

"It's just really on a knife edge now because if you did get 60,80,100mm of rain over the past week, you really can't now afford to get another shower of rain because it will certainly start to affect the quality."

Storms brought mixed rainfall totals to the region, as the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) recorded 32.4mm in Moree, 46.4mm in Tamworth and 139.6mm in Gunnedah.

However, totals in each region varied due to the nature of the storms.

"It was quite a bit of a mixed bag and how people fared really depended on how much rain they got and what stage their crops are up to," Mr Birch said.

"For instance, the BOM recorded about 34mm out at Walgett but local gauges didn't show that everywhere and in some cases people were still able to harvest.

"I think those who did cop a bit will certainly be hoping the rain that BOM is predicting on Wednesday and Saturday doesn't come through to just allow them that chance to get back out there."

Mr Birch said while the rain may have hampered some winter crops it had also given farmers confidence for planting a summer crop.

"People have been focusing on planting more winter crop than usual to try and recoup some stubble after the drought, but I think a few will certainly be thinking about summer crops now," he said.

"Hopefully, once this harvest is out of the way people can get on with planting their summer crops."

This story North West's harvest 'on a knife edge' after weekend storms first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.