KI croppers snag lucky break

KI croppers snag lucky break

Cropping
BUMPER BEANS: Parndana East croppers Michael and Tracy Mills, Carimar, in broad beans, which Mr Mills said would have benefited from more moisture but would still be "OK" this harvest.

BUMPER BEANS: Parndana East croppers Michael and Tracy Mills, Carimar, in broad beans, which Mr Mills said would have benefited from more moisture but would still be "OK" this harvest.

Aa

A SEASON topped and tailed by two significant rain events, with "dribs and drabs" in between, has upheld hopes for above-average yields across KI.

Aa

A SEASON topped and tailed by two significant rain events, with "dribs and drabs" in between, has upheld hopes for above-average yields across Kangaroo Island.

Bumper opening rains in May of up to 105 millimetres across 10 days kept crops sustained through a mostly dry winter, while a "season-saving" 25mm to 45mm was recorded across KI on September 20.

"A fortunate spring drop saved us from what was looking like a very average year," Landmark Kingscote agronomist Daniel Pledge said.

"Luckily, September delivered late and salvaged the season."

Mr Pledge said drier winters on the island generally preceded better-than-average crops, aside from beans, while pastures are expected to return average yields.

RELATED READING: South stacks up as rest of YP battles

RELATED READING: Late rain puts promise back into EP crops

Elders Kingscote agronomist Maree Gifford said the drier season meant harvest would be starting mid-November, some two weeks earlier than in the past three years.

She said in all, 135mm had been recorded in the growing season, which was well below the average.

"The crops are filling out reasonably well now and should produce a reasonable yield and the hay cut has been pretty good too, with a lot of bales currently being rolled up across the district," she said.

"Really, everything has relied on the opening 50-75mm of rain we received on May 1.

"The 30-40mm of rain that fell across the island on September 20, was a much-hoped for, much-needed spring break.

"The soil was very dry at that stage. It kicked things along and helped us to finish those late crops.

"The season has ended up being a lot better than we thought."

START IMMINENT

PARNDANA East cropper Michael Mills plans to start harvesting in mid-November.

He grows canola, broad beans, wheat and barley across 1400 hectares at Carimar with his wife Tracy and father Alan Mills.

Their canola and cereal crops have received enough moisture and are finished.

His broad beans need more moisture, but will still be "OK".

"We had between 50mm and 60mm on May 1 and 45mm on September 20 that got us out of jail," Michael said. "We didn't have a lot in between."

"The season would have been in all sorts of trouble without that spring break."

Rain records showed a 150mm deficit compared with averages up to October, but Michael said it had still been a "standard year".

Being located in the middle of KI, they were lucky to dodge the big frost event on September 17, while pest and weed pressure has been negligible, with pre-emergent herbicides working well.

  • Start the day with all the big news in agriculture. Click here to sign up to receive our daily Stock Journal newsletter.
Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by