CONTRACT harvesters are urging those in the grains industry to be patient this harvest saying wet conditions are likely to create extremely challenging harvest conditions.
Rod Gribble, NSW representative of Australian Custom Harvesters, the peak body for contract harvesters, said contractors were expecting a long and difficult harvest.
"It is not set up well at all, there are paddocks under water, so we don't know whether farmers will have them harvested or not, but where they do it is likely to be very wet and we'll be likely to see machines getting bogged frequently, slowing harvest up," Mr Gribble said.
"We've also seen a lot of crop go down and lodge so even if we can get on the paddocks we're going to have to take our time to pick the grain up," he said.
Mr Gribble said expectations about the speed and flow of harvest needed to be realistic.
"Patience is going to be the key, we understand people will be anxious to get the crop off, especially if this wet weather pattern continues and there is the threat of further downgrading but the reality is it is likely to be very slow."
"There will be the pressure in the paddock in terms of wet conditions and difficult to harvest crops, there will most likely be issues moving equipment around and then moving the grain is not likely to be easy, getting trucks in and out of wet areas and then getting over a road network that's seen a lot of damage.
"Unfortunately, the take home message for all is to expect disruptions this harvest, it is going to be slow, it is going to be challenging and we need to work together as best as we can to help things go as smoothly as possible."
Mr Gribble said farmers may come up with different harvesting strategies to normal.
"It may be that rather than harvesting the entire paddock you look at the dry zones where you won't get bogged and then circle back to the wetter areas once the better parts are done."
He said having contingency plans for bogging would be critical.
"Headers with four wheel drive will be in demand, and people will have tractors and snatch straps ready when equipment does inevitably find those wet spots."
Mr Gribble said good planning would help mitigate the issues.
"It is going to be a difficult season, but having plans and potential workarounds in place will help people manage as best as they can in the circumstances."
Harvest has begun in Central Queensland but has been delayed by heavy rain.
The northern NSW harvest is also likely to be severely delayed due to falls in excess of 100mm in the past week.