Long-awaited falls follow uncertain start

Long-awaited falls follow uncertain start


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WRAPPING UP: Clare cropper Roger Kimber says he will have finished seeding by the end of the week. Peas were being sown on his Brinkworth property when Stock Journal visited on Wednesday last week.

WRAPPING UP: Clare cropper Roger Kimber says he will have finished seeding by the end of the week. Peas were being sown on his Brinkworth property when Stock Journal visited on Wednesday last week.

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While there was a worrying lack of rain across the state in the early months of the year falls in the Bordertown area at the weekend had come in the "nick of time".

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While there was a worrying lack of rain across the state in the early months of the year, D&M Rural Bordertown agronomist Josh Modra said falls in the area at the weekend had come in the "nick of time".

He said the area received between eight millimetres and 10mm nearly two weeks ago, but falls of 14-18mm at the weekend was the first decent rain this year.

"I don't think the rain is too late, this is our ideal sowing week for cereals to some degree anyway," he said.

Mr Modra said beans and canola had mostly been sown, with croppers being between a third and halfway through sowing cereals.

The guys that started (seeding dry) and kept going did much better than the guys who waited and waited for rain. - RICHARD SAUNDERS

"Seeding should all be wrapped up here by the end of May," he said.

At Loxton, which has received only sparse falls so far this year, some croppers were still waiting on decent rain before beginning seeding.

But Rural Directions agronomist Richard Saunders said those who began seeding dry would likely be rewarded.

"Looking at last year, the guys that started (seeding dry) and kept going did much better than the guys who waited and waited for rain," he said.

"It was going to have to rain at some point, the paddocks were well-prepared, and the farmers got into it."

Rain did eventually fall, and Mr Saunders said the area received about 10mm nearly two weeks ago, and another 5mm on Sunday night.

Mr Saunders said those who began sowing dry, about four weeks ago, would be finished seeding by early next week.

The dry start meant many croppers left canola out of this year's rotation.

"Canola has largely been seen as a high-risk crop for the Mallee anyway, returns are fairly low," he said.

"Generally, most of the grain legumes are going in, some might be a little bit late but they're going in."

RAIN BOOSTS DRY SEEDING

Consistent blue skies at the start of the year meant Clare cropper Roger Kimber began sowing on dry ground, but he knew the rain would come sooner or later.

"We had a few five-millimetre or 6mm falls, they quietened the dust down for a day or so, we were cruising along waiting for the rain," he said.

Related reading: SA seeding started despite dry forecast

Decent rain did eventually fall in the region, with Mr Kimber's Clare property receiving 30mm at the beginning of May, before another 11mm fell on the weekend, which he said was a nice surprise.

Mr Kimber began seeding his 800-hectare cropping program in mid-April.

He grows wheat, barley, peas and export hay across properties at Clare and Brinkworth.

He hopes to wrap up seeding by the end of the week, with some wheat still to be sown at Clare.

Some "riskier" crops were cut from the program this year due to the lack of rain early in the year.

"Because it was so dry we thought we'd keep it simple, so we got rid of chickpeas and canola," he said.

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