Hail has slashed crops and dashed some farmers’ hopes for a bumper harvest in the Central West region of New South Wales.
Some crops in Coonamble were destroyed on the weekend by a hailstorm while other paddocks in the western region have been waterlogged from heavy falls.
Tom Cullen, who farms near Coonamble, said the damage was “heartbreaking”.
“It was a monumental weather event,” he said.
“Hail is basically the worst thing that can happen at harvest because the force of it can slash plants and knock the grain out of the head.
The Cullens’ property received 95 millimetres of rain last week in total.
Today, he and his farming partner, his mum Anne, toured sodden paddocks littered with spilt grain.
Their crops were insured but Mr Cullen said the damage sustained was a kick in the guts after three tough years of drought.
“Now we need to get [the crops] assessed and the insurance companies will take it from there,” he said.
“Having a crop like this would have been a huge plus for us, so seeing it damaged now by these storms is very heartbreaking.
More rain on the way
Local harvest contractors have also been affected by the recent rain.
Robert Thomas runs an agriculture machinery hire business in Coonamble and said it was going to be a while before his machines can get moving again.
Some farmers in the region were hopeful of getting back onto sodden paddocks to continue harvest.
But Bureau of Meteorology forecaster David Wilke said farmers should expect unsettled conditions for the rest of the week.
“On Wednesday thunderstorm activity is ramping up and the next rainfall event for the western part of the state may be Friday or Saturday,” Mr Wilke said.
Hail caps a wet week
Thunderstorms were widespread across the state on the weekend but there were only isolated patches of hail.
Mr Wilke said some parts of the state were saturated from heavy rainfall last week.
In the past seven days, Scone received 190mm, Nundle received 149mm and Parkes had 67mm.
Further south, at Tumbarumba, 89mm fell in the past week which led to some flash flooding.