GOOD falls have helped boost the potential yields of the Schmucker family at Panitya, via Kimba.
Thomas Schmucker said they had been fairly lucky with rain this year, but an extra 35 millimetres in the past week had benefited the crop greatly, which had been looking below-average.
He said they had 12mm in April to start seeding.
“We were ready to go right at the start of seeding and any little opportunity, we took,” he said.
“We pulled up twice during sowing, but then got another 6mm, which was enough to keep pushing through.
“Our soil type is sand on top of clay so it had the capacity to hold moisture from January, so we didn’t need a huge amount to start.”
Mr Schmucker said the tougher season meant they reduced fertiliser inputs and removed canola from their rotation.
“We’ve been on notice since seeding and been stressed about the year,” he said. “The July rain picked it up a bit but it’s been an on-watch sort of year.
“You just look at crops and hope they’re tougher than what we’d think.”
Mr Schmucker said the latest rain has set them in good stead for spring.
“We still need a couple of follow-ups, but what we really need is cool,” he said.
Mr Schmucker said one small mistake last year had set them up for this year.
By accident, they had seeded some paddocks quite shallow, leading to staggered germination.
He said this was not too much of a concern with last year’s good seasonal rainfall allowing the crop to catch-up.
But this year, it encouraged them to sow their crop at about 60mm – deeper than ever before – to avoid the top soil drying out and impacting germination.
Mr Schmucker said Russian wheat aphid had also been found in their crop, but they had sprayed them out.
“We can’t sacrifice any yields from what we’ve got,” he said.