Despite most Yorke Peninsula farmers having wrapped up their sowing programs for the year, there have been no major celebrations as the season brought many complications.
Dry conditions slowed down the seeding process and, coupled with a localised mouse problem and a shortage of mouse bait, have put pressure on primary producers.
YP AG agronomist Chris Davey said some YP farmers did not start sowing until very late May or even early June.
He said the wait allowed them to take advantage of the recent rain, as well as being assured they were able to access sufficient mouse bait.
“The exceptionally dry May and June period has made it hard to establish crops, particularly in the heavier, clay-type soils,” Mr Davey said.
“These soils hold the moisture a lot tighter – thereby giving less up to the germinating crop – and are also harder to penetrate when trying to sow at a given depth.
“The mice threat has added another layer of complexity to the stressed situation.”
A small proportion of crops in the region have had to be resown due to the mice problem, making it a costly outlay for farmers.
“This has been the instance when excessive grain has been on the ground prior to harvest, which was caused by hailstorms, delayed harvest or having windrowed crops that were harvested late,” Mr Davey said.
“There has also been some paddocks resown as the grain shot in the marginal soil moisture conditions at seeding time, and then died as the soil dried out afterwards.”
Mr Davey said more Spartacus barley had been sown in the region this year, while Trojan wheat had also grown in popularity.
“Spartacus is an imi-tolerant barley that enables farmers to control hard-to-kill weeds with select chemicals,” he said.
“There has also been more Trojan wheat grown in some areas, which has allowed farmers to sow more towards the middle of April, than the end of April to the start of May.
“The areas that received good rainfall at the end of April, like upper northern YP, and lower southern YP, have some crops now out to early and mid-tillering.
“All varieties sown early in these districts are looking quite good, but will also need a rain shortly, like the rest of the peninsula.”
Those lucky enough to receive decent rainfall in April and start their sowing programs early should have the last laugh this year, as will those who have put a vigilant pest control program in place to control mice and snails.
“Excellent summer weed control, and retaining stubble from last harvest have also lead to better crop establishment, by conserving moisture, and leaving moisture closer to the soil surface to assist the germinating crop,” Mr Davey said.