Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Rain, hail slows harvest activity

Rice harvest activity in Deniliquin and surrounds has been slowed as a result of recent rain.

ZOE MCMAUGH April 11, 2014 3:25am

Deniliquin AGS employee James Cooper (left) unloads local farmer Rod Armytage’s rice last Friday.

Rain has slowed rice harvest activity across the region.

Before the rain started to fall last week, SunRice said 26,500 tonnes of paddy rice had been delivered to Australian Grain Receival sites across the district, including 14,200 from the Murray region.

As of Tuesday this week, that number had lifted to 78,000 tonnes of paddy across all AGS depots.

Some rice has been able to be delivered during the inclement weather since then, but SunRice general manager grower services Mike Hedditch said harvest had slowed.

‘‘We expect harvest to move into top gear after the showers forecasted clear.

‘‘Of the 78,000 tonnes of paddy received across all regions, 46,000 tonnes has been delivered in the Murray Valley.’’

In the Deniliquin area, 31.2mm of rain has been recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology since Thursday last week.

Elders Weather predicts some rainfall today but that it will be mostly sunny for the weekend and the start of next week.

The little bit or rain late last week didn’t stop Rod Armytage delivering to the Deniliquin Rice Mill on Friday morning.

Mr Armytage has 250 hectares dedicated to rice at his Conargo property. He has sown five varieties this year – Koshihikari, Opus, Sherpa, Langi and Reiziq.

In March, SunRice predicted this season’s crop would deliver 800,000 tonnes of rice, down on last year’s 1.2 million tonne.

Hail reported in the Moulamein area just over a week ago, however, has put a dent in yield from that area.

Moulamein farmer Lloyd Polkinghorne said a ‘‘thin band’’ of hail passed over the region.

At his property, Tralee, 5km south west of Moulamein, a number of paddocks were affected, some significantly.

‘‘In one paddock we had 50 to 60 per cent losses and 20 to 30 per cent in another.

‘‘In other paddocks there were smaller losses, some zero to five per cent. The hail has knocked the ripe grains out of the head.

‘‘We’ll be compensated for the losses so financially it’s not a huge issue, it’s just disappointing to see something you have worked so hard on destroyed.’’

~ Zoe McMaugh

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