MIXED farmer Barrie Gale said he planned to increase fertiliser rates at seeding to compensate for nutrient losses from last season’s “well above-average” yields.
Barrie, with partner Emma, parents Geoff and Jill Gale, and brother Michael with his wife Carolyn, crops 700 hectares (with one-third sown to sheep feed for their on-farm Galaxy Park White Suffolk stud) at Monarto South, in conjunction with a cropping and grazing property at Tintinara.
The 2016 harvest was the best Barrie had experienced, with spring rains ensuring perfect conditions for the crops to finish.
“It’s amazing what can happen when you get a decent September,” he said.
“Plus we didn’t get that hot October to knock the crops about. We only banked on our previous best crops average of 5t/ha – we got an extra tonne than anticipated.”
Barrie said they averaged about 6t/ha for wheat, while barley pushed 7t/ha.
“We will definitely increase our fertiliser rates this year, about 20-25pc, to compensate the nutrients the crops took out,” he said.
They also plan to grow monola instead of canola as yields were similar, but monola prices were higher.
Barrie said a lot of summer weed spraying had been going on in the region, along with seed cleaning and “getting fertiliser in”, in preparation for the 2017 seeding.
He said despite talk of a late start and El Nino, they would still wait until the opening rains before sowing.
“We normally get going the week after Anzac Day, depending on rain,” he said.
“We will consider sowing sheep feed and canola dry, because we do have plenty of subsoil moisture, but generally we wait for the rain.
“A few years ago, we didn’t sow until June 20 and still had a bumper harvest, which highlighted to us that it is more important to get a good weed kill at the start of the season than focusing on just getting the crop in the ground.”