Season to savour in Upper SE

Season to savour in Upper SE

Cropping
PLEASING RESULT: Scott Manser, Creston, Keith, and Cox Rural Keith agronomist Lochie Eats inspect canola for pests and to determine windrow timing.

PLEASING RESULT: Scott Manser, Creston, Keith, and Cox Rural Keith agronomist Lochie Eats inspect canola for pests and to determine windrow timing.

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CROPPERS in the Upper South East have been "blessed" this year to farm in a little strip of country that has received adequate rain in the growing season.

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CROPPERS in the Upper South East have been "blessed" this year to farm in a little strip of country that has received adequate rain in the growing season.

That is according to Garry Hansen, who crops 6700 hectares at Coomandook with his brother Andrew. They plan to start harvest in mid- to late November.

Mr Hansen is hoping for average yields from his wheat, canola, barley, lupins and beans, as well as his oaten hay crops.

"We've had a reasonably good season with well-timed rain throughout," he said.

"We've had enough rain to keep the crops going and, on October 14, again a perfectly-timed 17 millimetres to 18mm to fill and grow the crop and now some hot days to finish."

Mr Hansen said frost again caused significant damage around Coomandook, which had cut down some crops.

To mitigate the risk to their graingrowing operation, the Hansens run a haymaking enterprise, mainly aimed at the export market, with some sold domestically.

Scott Manser, Creston, Keith, is hopeful that a fortuitous growing season will return average to above-average yields.

He expects his canola to yield between 2 tonnes a hectare and 2.5t/ha, wheat 4-5t/ha, barley 4.5-5t/ha and beans 1.5-2t/ha.

"It has been a great season that saw us receive rain at the right time," Mr Manser said.

"It is hard to say because I know how tough it has been elsewhere."

RELATED READING: Positive outcomes for the south-east

Harvest will begin later on Creston this year due to a wetter than average season.

To illustrate how the ideal timing of rain this year had compensated for below-average totals, Cox Rural Keith senior agronomist Scott Hutchings said while opening totals in May were 13mm below average, the district was only 34mm behind for the growing season - as opposed to 100mm down for the year.

"Rain has fallen steadily in the growing season at the right time and, at this stage, we are expecting above-average yields," he said.

Mr Hutchings said 20 per cent to 25pc more hay was cut this year due to most people selling or using all their hay last year and a strong domestic market that farmers hoped to exploit.

Western Ag agronomist Nathan Tink, Bordertown, said after a "textbook" graingrowing season, the district was "watching and waiting", hoping to avoid a disaster.

He said damage, particularly to beans, from frosts - the main one on September 17 - was the great unknown.

"But all in all, it has been a solid season," he said.

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