Golf ball hail hits a quadruple bogey for WA wheat belt crops

Prairie Storm Clouds Canada
Prairie Storm Clouds Canada Saskatchewan Dramatic Summer
Stock images for Ag Solutions
Stock images for Ag Solutions

While torrential rain and floods drowned the east coast over the last couple of months, WA was looking to have escaped the chaos this season. However this week all that changed, with a swathe of the central and northern WA wheat belt lashed with extreme hailstorms and flooding rain, leaving damaged crops in its path.

November 8th, 2022 will prove to be a date etched in the minds of some WA grain producers this year as wild weather descended upon part of the WA wheat belt. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reports that the storm-impacted zone extended across six or more regions, namely Merredin, Northam, Corrigin, Cunderdin, Kellerberrin and York.

Reports of over 80mm of rain in under 3 hours and hail damage were widespread across the affected zones, with the storm’s progress described as carving “trail of destruction” through Narembeen, York, Merredin and Wongan Hills. The red circle annotation to the official BOM warning map (figure 1) roughly indicates the impacted area.

Estimated 2022/23 gross cropping area and potential production for these impacted zones of WA total 800kha/1.4mmt for wheat, 200kha/0.4mmt of barley, and 34kha/35kmt of lupins.

The potentially affected area only represents a small proportion of WA’s forecast 13.5mmt+ wheat crop, at 10%. Storm damage can be extremely patchy, so actual crop losses sustained could land anywhere in a wide band of possibilities.

As with all natural disasters, and similar to the recent floods in Victoria and NSW the extent of the dent in production is likely to be highly variable between regions. Estimates of the total impact on production are unlikely to emerge for days to weeks as growers count the cost, and information filters through.

Heavy rain in the lead-up to harvest is also likely to have an impact on harvest timing as producers are forced to wait it out until crops and paddocks dry off sufficiently.

This recent severe hail and storm damage in WA to Australian crop production may not prove to be the end of the wild weather in Australia. The BOM has recently issued further severe thunderstorms and damaging wind warnings for this week in parts of SA also.

What does it mean?

Abandoned crops and yield destruction for some impacted producers in the WA wheat belt will put a dent in production forecasts for the west, and help support prices. However the impact will be limited as the affected zones only makeup 10% of WA expected production, and actual damaged crops will certainly be less than this amount. Wet weather will also push harvest further out, compressing grain deliveries.

Have any questions or comments?

We love to hear from you!

Print This Post

Key Points

  • Golf ball hail and torrential rainstorms lash a section of the WA wheat belt
  • BOM reports Merredin, Northam, Corrigin, Cunderdin, Kellerberrin and York regions were hit.
  • Over 800kha (1.4mmt) wheat, 200kha (0.4mmt) barley area impacted by the weather system, with % yield losses unknown at this stage.

Click on figure to expand

Click on figure to expand

Data sources: BOM, ABARES

Make decisions with confidence- ask about our board packs, bespoke forecasting and risk management services

Have any questions or comments?

We love to hear from you!
Grains & Oilseeds

Bears in the new crop

This week has been all about the impending Northern Hemisphere harvest hitting the pipelines. Despite a raft of supportive news, the noise was drowned out

Read More »
Grains & Oilseeds

Canola wild ride continues

In the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released last month global canola and rapeseed production was forecast to remain at the upper end

Read More »
Grains & Oilseeds

India a demand dark horse

This week has seen the wheat market jump on cuts to Russian production, only to give most of the gains back as rains appeared in

Read More »

Want market insights delivered straight to your inbox?

Sign up to the mailing list to get regular updates to new analysis and market outlooks

Independent analysis and outlook for wool, livestock and grain markets delivered to you as it’s published

Commodity conversations podcast cover image, a illustration of a sheep standing on a cow's back with grain either side
Listen to the podcast

Join the Mecardo team for the Commodity Conversations podcast, where we provide short weekly market recaps and longer conversations with guests to discuss the drivers and trends in livestock, grain and fibre markets.

Photo of a farmer surrounded by Merino sheep in dusty yards
Research: Analysis of the Australian sheep flock

In this report for LiveCorp and MLA, we analysed the historical trends in the demographics of the Australian sheep flock, examining domestic factors that influence farm-level enterprise decision making. 

Image of harvested grain pouring into a chaser bin

We don’t just bring you the most up to date market insights. Find out more about Mecardo’s services including risk management advisory, modelling, benchmarking, research & consultancy.