Riverina growers are assessing the damage after more than 150 millimetres of rain fell on what were set to be bumper crops.

Riverina Local Land Services agronomist Lisa Castleman described last week’s rain as an “extreme event”. 

“I’m seeing swollen creeks, burst banks and typical low spots in paddocks with water lying on them or running through them,” she said. 

“I’m seeing crops that were about to be harvested, in some places lodging, just with the amount of rain that fell on them.

Ms Castleman said there was a lot of uncertainty among growers about the damage. 

“There’s the frustration of knowing that your quality’s deteriorating but you can’t get onto the paddock,” she said. 

In some parts of the region, farmers were beginning to harvest again, but she said other growers could be waiting for weeks until their paddocks were dry enough to get harvesting equipment on to them.  

Brown water runs into crops

Paddocks were flooded at Lockhart on Friday following more than 100mm of rain in 48 hours. (Supplied: Jim Morgan )

Cattle bogged in canola stubble

Jim Morgan had 109mm of rain in 48 hours last week and said he had to rescue his stranded cattle who were bogged down to their bellies in canola stubble.

“There’s just water everywhere, I’ve never seen it before at this time of year,” Mr Morgan said. 

“There’s virtually no wheat off in this district whatsoever.

“As far as the wheat crop goes, you’ve got to be a realist and I would say the word is ‘stuffed’.”

He said that before the deluge, his canola was yielding up to 3.4 tonnes a hectare. 

Water inundates fences and cattle yards on a blue sky, sunny day.

Flooding between Lockhart and Collingullie on Monday morning. (ABC Riverina: Olivia Calver)

‘Shot’ and ‘sprung’ wheat a surprise

It’s only the second year cropping for Ganmain growers Brent and Kendra Kerrisk.

They have found a significant portion of their wheat crop has already ‘shot’ and ‘sprung’ — which means the seeds have started to sprout before they’ve had a chance to harvest the crop. 

“It was a little bit of a surprise,” Mr Kerrisk said.

“Our wheat’s only just come right, so I thought we might have been OK … but it’s responded not so flash.” 

A grain head in someone's palm with roots sprouting from it.

A “shot” and “sprung” wheat head, in which the seeds start to sprout before the crop can be harvested. (ABC Riverina: Olivia Calver )

The Kerrisks said they were taking a punt on storing a large portion of their wheat, in the hope quality and prices may improve. 

“For us, it’s just making us think about every opportunity we can get, to get the most from what we’ve got.”

Eastern Riverina might be lucky

A man with a blue shirt and straw hat smiles at the camera in a wheat crop

Murray Schulz hopes his wheat crop was green enough to cope with the heavy rainfall last week. (Supplied: Murray Schulz)

Culcairn grower Murray Schulz said he only got one day of harvest in before receiving 145mm of rain last week. 

“Some of our wheat is still reasonably green and I don’t think it’s been affected, but we really don’t know until we get the header back into it.”

Mr Schulz said getting headers and trucks onto the paddocks would be challenging. 

“We’re going to have to ferry grain from paddocks out to trucks on roads.

“It will be one of those harvests we’ll be happy to see the end of.”

Posted , updated 

Riverina farmers ‘pipped at the post’ by damaging rains during harvest
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