Freezing overnight temperatures have resulted in widespread crop losses through parts of NSW, farmers are reporting.
The worst hit areas have been in the central west around Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo extending through Barellan and west to Griffith and Hillston.
Farmers are saying that overnight temperatures plummeted to -5 degrees Celsius at times in the last week of August and this has wreaked havoc on crops that were vulnerable at the time.
It’s only just becoming apparent how much damage the frosts have caused.
Significant damage has been done to canola crops where sappy green pods were susceptible to the freezing temperatures.
Farmers are reporting that pods dropped immediately after the frosts.
Wheat and barley crops were also hammed by the sub-zero temperatures with reports of widespread stem frosting.
The frosts have been the last straw for the 2017 winter crops for many farmers who have been struggling with the drier than normal season.
Grain prices were solidly higher last week as the impacts of the frost damage and deteriorating yields was factored in by traders and buyers.
The largest prices were recorded in southern NSW.
New season’s Australian Premium White (APW) into Port Kembla jumped by $25 a tonne to $296/t.
Most traders now believe nearly all the southern NSW grain harvest will need to be drawn north into southern Queensland and northern NSW to cover the production shortfalls for the feedlots and other intensive feeders.
Smaller increases were recorded in northern prices. Newcastle APW bids rallied by $10/t to $305/t.
Markets as far south as Melbourne and Adelaide are now being driven by the strength in the Darling Downs grain prices.
New season’s APW wheat jumped by $15/t to $265/t Melbourne, which is reflective of the expanding drawing arch by southern Queensland end users because of the northern drought.
NSW canola prices were sharply higher following reports that production will be hit hard by recent frost damage. Crusher bids jumped by up to $15/t to $550/t on expectations supplies will be tight.
Crops are also struggling with the warming temperatures and hot, gustily winds. Conditions are continuing to deteriorate as temperatures warm in the absence of any soil moisture reserves to sustain plants.
ABARES lowered its estimate of the country's wheat harvest as they slashed yields with the northern drought.
Australian wheat production was lowered to 21.64 million tonnes, down from a March forecast of 24.1 million. Australian barley production was lowered by 91,000t to 7.99 million tonnes.
Canola production was cut by 564,000t to 2.75 million tonnes.
ABARES also cut its 2015-16 Australian wheat production estimate by 1.9 million tonnes to 22.2 million tonnes following the release of the ABS Census.