Home NewsAustralia Helicopters, boats helping farmers to finish a long, hard harvest

Helicopters, boats helping farmers to finish a long, hard harvest

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Spring introduced heartache when probably the most promising crops in years have been broadly broken by rain and floods, dampening thousands and thousands of {dollars} in worth — however the arduous work was solely simply starting.

In some instances, growers have been battling the weather for nearly three months to reap their grain and a few may nonetheless be stripping crops in February, significantly as floodwaters surge by rivers throughout North-Western NSW.

From boats to kayaks and even helicopters, growers have been doing no matter it takes to cross floodwaters and attain their crops to complete the longest-running harvest in years.

Boating by flood to reap

Sue Currey journeys to the header begin with a ship journey to cross floodwaters, the place she farms close to Walgett in north-west NSW.

“We have had water from the Barwon, Namoi and Castlereagh Rivers all come previous us. We’re not the one ones caught on an island out right here although,” she mentioned.

“We simply make do with what we have got and get round with what we have got.”

The photo above shows a wonderful wheat crop, the image below shows a muddy paddock and ruined crop
Earlier than and after: three weeks between pictures of this Coonamble wheat paddock, which suffered main harm from torrential rain in November (Equipped: Adam Macrae)

In some excellent news, the Currey household is lastly nearly completed harvest.

“It is not the primary time we have accomplished it, but it surely’s been an extended harvest this time for everybody; the rain has simply been a little bit of a problem, however we rise above it and get on with it.”

“We do survive; we’ll get there.”

‘By no means remoted with a chopper’

Close by, Walgett blended farmer Sam Warden and his household have been reduce off from city earlier than Christmas however say “you are by no means actually reduce off once you personal a helicopter!”

“Flying round earlier than Christmas there have been lots of people remoted but it surely’s a fairly good Christmas current to know you are arrange with water for 2022,” he mentioned.

“There’s nonetheless lots of crops underwater now which can be fully gone. There shall be folks nonetheless harvesting in January, presumably into February which is fairly extraordinary.”


“Individuals shall be held off their farming nation for fairly some time.”

Thankfully, the Wardens managed to strip all their crops by mid-November.

“With file costs folks could be fairly proud of no matter they’ll get off. Even the poorer high quality goes for what a median does in an excellent 12 months.”

Simply making an attempt to recoup prices

For some, the goal now could be value restoration, hoping the broken crops will at the least cowl the bills.

“We obtained as much as 200mm rain in November which is definitely on the lighter finish of what was recorded in Coonamble, in addition to some overland circulate down the Castlereagh,”  Coonamble blended farmer Adam Macrae mentioned.

“Our cropping nation took a fairly truthful hit, however the outlook for 2022 is outstanding now so we have got to hook into that now.”

A speed boat moves through floodwaters
For the Currey household in Walgett, 2021 harvest begins on daily basis with a speedboat trip by floodwaters to succeed in the crop.(Equipped: Sue Currey)

“It is a bitter capsule to swallow once you see one thing you’ve got labored arduous to attain and positively within the high proportion of crops that you’re going to ever develop in your lifetime simply disappear in a matter of weeks or at the least have a considerable downgrade.”

Reduction with excessive costs

Additional south in Trangie, blended farmer Jason McCutcheon is on the house stretch. 

“We began harvest on November 2,  and it is simply been dragging on since then; we stored getting rain,” he mentioned.

“You simply could not appear to get an excellent run at it.”

“I used to be lucky sufficient to get a number of days in earlier than the rain after which the rain downgraded the wheat to a decrease grade. If the rain had held off for 2 or three weeks, we might have been OK.”

Dramatic blue and purple storm clouds as a header below works to harvest a crop
Many growers are nonetheless making an attempt to complete harvesting their 2021 winter crop.(Equipped: Sharon Smith)

He agrees that the excessive grain costs are of nice profit.

“At worst, we get to go round once more.”

Trying to subsequent season

Throughout the north-west of the state and the Liverpool Plains areas, farmers are nonetheless making an attempt to reap crops as paddocks stay soggy.

Farmers round areas like Gunnedah, Breeza, Narrabri and Wee Waa skilled not one however two floods.

Daniel Kahl is a grain grower at Wee Waa; he estimates he has misplaced 15 per cent of their winter crop.

A house photographed from the air surrounded by floodwater
Melissa Ozoux’s residence in Walgett turned an island for greater than two weeks over Christmas attributable to rising floodwaters (Equipped)

“Total, it’s nonetheless an affordable outcome; I believe yields from what was harvested will make up for what was misplaced,” he mentioned.

“Costs being fairly robust in the meanwhile will make up for some decrease high quality stuff.

Mr Kahl will now flip his full consideration to his summer time cropping program.

“The prospects for the following crop are good and we’ve obtained loads of water now upstream at Keepit and Cut up Rock dams,” Mr Kahl mentioned.

“What was misplaced to the flood will hopefully be made up for with the good thing about having water round.”

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