After suffering through drought, dust storms and bushfires, crop growers across NSW are praying heavy rain forecast for the state doesn’t wash away hopes of their first bumper harvest in years.
Wet, windy weather and scattered hail has threatened farmers in parts of the state’s interior since Friday, a big change from 12 months ago, grain farmer and NSW Farmers Vice President Xavier Martin told AAP.
But the rain isn’t entirely welcome, he says, with concerns the adverse weather could ruin crops and kick farmers while they’re down.
Waterlogged grain crops may start to sprout, meaning they are only suitable for stock feed, and wind and hail could knock seeds to the ground, he says.
“Every event puts at risk the quality of the seeds,” Mr Martin said.
“It might only sound small when you say 10 or 20 per cent damage, but … for some farmers that ten per cent that is lying on the ground is the bit they really needed in their silo to be able to sell and make a profit.”
Mr Martin’s crops in the Liverpool Plains near Tamworth have thus far been spared hail, but farmers in Coonamble and other parts of the state haven’t been so lucky.
More intense weather is forecast throughout the week, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning the central interior of the state is set for a soaking on Wednesday.
Dubbo is expected to get a week’s worth of rain in a day.
Thunderstorms are also likely, especially in the north-east of the state.
With the La Nina system meaning Australia will have a soggy summer, Mr Martin says he’s just hoping it doesn’t flood.
“We’ve moved from the drought and fires, through the whole range of issues like frost, mice plagues and even grub infestations, and now we’ve got hail storms and weather damage,” he said.
“We have coped with the dust and the smoke, but if we can stay away from flooding, we’ll be pretty pleased to get Christmas and get what crop we can in silos.”
Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter region were battered by heavy rain and strong winds on Monday, but are likely to be spared the brunt of the weather forecast for Wednesday, BOM says.
The state’s southern coastline and the northwest will also miss out.