Freak weather hits crops

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Through rain, hail and shine, the crops in the region have been hit with each in the past month.
Camera IconThrough rain, hail and shine, the crops in the region have been hit with each in the past month. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Crops across the region are expected to take a major hit as a result of recent unseasonal weather, with some growers reporting losses of up to 40 per cent.

Temperatures dropped as low as 5.4C overnight in November following a hail storm on October 31, wreaking havoc on the agricultural industry.

Avocado, apple and cherry production has been affected in Manjimup as a result of the unseasonal weather.

However, the full extent of the damage will not be known until harvest.

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Apple and avocado grower Vic Grozotis said while he estimated he had lost about 30 to 40 per cent of his apple crop, the hail damage done to next year’s avocado harvest was still unknown.

“While this year’s mature avocado crop wasn’t affected, the new avocado flowers for the next season have been affected,” he said.

“With the combination of cold nights, we won’t know the damage until February.”

Mr Grozotis said some growers had protective hail netting over parts of their orchards.

“That was a big plus for us but no region has been left untouched,” he said.

It had been about 10 years since Mr Grozotis had hail on his property at this time of year.

“I hope there are no future weather events,” he said.

Avocado grower Travis Luzny said the cold nights had not helped with the avocado pollination and the early start to the season had not done growers any favours.

“It really is an unknown until next season but at least we’ve had no issue that’s affected this year’s crops,” he said.

Cherry Lane Fields partner Kathy Grozotis said the recent weather had reduced the crop by an estimated 15 to 20 per cent.

“It is unknown until we pick and pack,” she said.

“There was some hail damage, but cherries can rehabilitate to an extent.

“We’ve left some on the trees because they had open wounds.”

Mrs Grozotis said the season had been on track until the hail at the end of October which had set back harvest until about December 7-10.

“A few days of good weather in a row would really help,” she said.

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