Rains bring hope but more is needed

Good start but cold snap has slowed growth down


Local Business Feature
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Optimism is high among growers across Yorke Peninsula with most areas having received at least 100mm of rainfall since the start of May but a cold snap has slowed growth down and more rain is needed for the season to reach its full potential.

Optimism is high among growers across Yorke Peninsula, with most areas having received at least 100 millimetres of rain since the start of May.

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But agronomists say it is clear the best start to a season in up to three years will mean little without follow-up rains due to the absence of subsoil moisture in most regions.

Landmark agronomist Paul Ackland, who covers northern YP and into the central parts of the peninsula, said last week's good rains had been a blessing for croppers.

DOWN TO WORK: Leighton Wilksch, Agbyte, checks out crop growth at a soil moisture probe site.

DOWN TO WORK: Leighton Wilksch, Agbyte, checks out crop growth at a soil moisture probe site.

In the northern Yorke Peninsula in particular, the last two years were a real struggle. We've got crops up and going nicely now though. - PAUL ACKLAND

"Those rains were really good," he said.

"The northern YP was really tounging it - it really needed a rain.

"They had 50mm to 70mm in some parts and now it's really got things into gear.

GOOD START: Simon Geater-Johnson, Arthurton, says he has received 109mm of rainfall since the start of May and is pleased with the situation.

GOOD START: Simon Geater-Johnson, Arthurton, says he has received 109mm of rainfall since the start of May and is pleased with the situation.

"It has set us up OK at the moment.

"Obviously they don't have any subsoil moisture, which is a bit of a concern, but most parts on the YP now where I go have had probably 100mm since the start of May, so we can't complain."

GROW TIME: A crop on the rise just outside of Cunliffe.

GROW TIME: A crop on the rise just outside of Cunliffe.

Simon Geater-Johnson, who farms 5000 hectares in the Arthurton area, said he had received 109mm of rainfall since the start of May and was pleased with the situation.

Mr Ackland said the season start had been the best for the past three years.

"In the northern YP in particular, the last two years were a real struggle," he said.

"We've got crops up and going nicely now though.

"Blokes are just starting grass spraying in legumes and broadleaf in cereals and getting nitrogen out. So, yes, it's definitely kicked up the optimism in the area at the moment."

Agbyte director Leighton Wilksch said it was feeling like winter and, more importantly, that the YP was in a good pattern.

Despite signs of soil moisture getting down to the required 40 centimetre to 60cm depth in some places, there's plenty of land where moisture is down only to 30-40cm in the soils.

"We're going to need heavy rainfall events to keep pushing that moisture down," he said.

"But we are seeing green everywhere and the rows are filling in."

"For those who could get hold of urea, and that has been quite challenging, they are now getting that out.

"It's encouraging to see things going along well at the moment."

Matt Smith, whose patch covers from Moonta to the north on YP said the region was looking better than it had in the past two years.

"It is incredibly slow at the moment, growth has slowed down substantially," he said.

"As far as weeds go, there's a few strange things happening. Broadleaf weeds in cereals, the numbers are very low.

"We know there should be weeds out in the paddock and we're not seeing them at the minute so we might be hanging off on a few jobs.''

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