Best Mallee start in decades

Best Mallee start in decades

Cropping
Jody, four-year-old Ruby, Alison, Adam and 18-month-old Jack Flavel had more than 65mm of season-opening rains at Meribah.

Jody, four-year-old Ruby, Alison, Adam and 18-month-old Jack Flavel had more than 65mm of season-opening rains at Meribah.

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The Flavels at Meribah, near Loxton, say it has been "many, many" years since they have had a start to the season like this.

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MALLEE cropper Jody Flavel said it has been "many, many" years since they have had a start to the season like this, even as far back as the early 1970s.

"We have had early starts before, but not as good as this one," he said.

"This is the first year in a very long time that our lambs have dropped onto knee-high green feed."

Jody farms with wife Karen, son Adam and his wife Alison at Meribah, while his other son Patrick has also been home helping during the COVID-19 crisis.

This year, they are putting in 3500 hectares of canola, rye, lupins, chickpeas, barley and wheat.

"We haven't grown canola for quite a few years now and it will be our first real go at chickpeas as well," Jody said.

Seeding started tentatively in mid-April with rye on their sandy hills, but they got "stuck in" after more than 65 millimetres of opening rains over the Easter/Anzac Day period.

"This season is like chalk and cheese with last year," Jody said.

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"We probably only had 100mm for the growing season last year, and another 50mm in December.

"But it rained all throughout summer, keeping that subsoil moisture there. We've had about 75mm for the year."

The only real issue they have faced this year has been accessing chemicals.

"The combination of coronavirus and a pretty good open to the season across the country has made accessing certain chemicals a bit difficult," Jody said.

"But it hasn't held us up too much, while others did miss out, so I guess we have been lucky."

The Flavels had about a week of seeding to go.

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