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Damage to NSW winter crop exceeds $850 million

RUINED and downgraded winter crops across NSW have resulted in farmers pocketing at least $850 million less for their 2010 harvest, minister for primary industries, Steve Whan, said today.

Minister Whan will today visit Moree in the State’s north-west to visit a farming property affected by flooding.

“Industry & Investment NSW estimates that almost half the 2.8 million hectare wheat crop was downgraded to feed quality because of weather damage caused by rain and flooding,” he said.

“And in some places harvest is stalled because paddocks are still too wet. But the good news is feed grain prices are holding up. As a result many crops have been salvaged.

“The estimated average wheat yield across NSW is 3.13 tonnes a hectare producing 8.8 million tonnes state-wide. This compares to 2009 when 2.77 million hectares were harvested yielding about 4.43 million tonnes.

“A significant proportion of barley and oats are also being downgraded.”

The official State Government January Conditions Report shows all of NSW remains satisfactory.

Minister Whan said pulse crops had suffered from the wet too, with wet conditions causing increased disease, crop lodging and shot-and-sprung grain in chickpea, faba bean, field pea and lupin crops.

“It appears that lupin crops have tolerated the wet conditions better than other pulse crops in terms of yield and grain quality,” he said.

“Despite wet conditions disrupting summer crop sowing, Industry & Investment NSW forecasts more than 600,000 hectares is sown, excluding rice, which is well up on the estimated 240,000 ha harvested last season.

“More typical summer weather has followed a very wet December across many parts of the State,” he said.

“Sorghum sowings of 164,000 ha are down on earlier forecasts as a result of paddocks staying too wet to sow.

“Mungbean and sunflower plantings will continue until the end of January.

“The wet and humid summer has also led to an increase in insect pressure on summer crops, leading to significantly higher production costs.”

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