Future unknown but patience urged in wake of barley barney

Future unknown but patience urged in wake of barley barney

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BARLEY grower Hayden Donnell decided to not make major changes to his cropping rotation this year, despite his rising uncertainty about the wash-up from China's tariff on Australian barley imports on his bottom line.

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Barley grower Hayden Donnell, Kadina, with seed that will remain in the shed.

Barley grower Hayden Donnell, Kadina, with seed that will remain in the shed.

BARLEY grower Hayden Donnell decided to not make major changes to his cropping rotation this year, despite his rising uncertainty about the wash-up from China's tariff on Australian barley imports on his bottom line.

He crops 1350 hectares at Kadina and most years, sows about 450ha of barley.

Despite the creation 80 per cent tariff being "mind-boggling" to Mr Donnell, he said it was a tough call to make substantial changes to the program this season.

"Once the wheels are in motion, it is difficult to make big changes overnight," he said.

"A plan is locked in at least a year before seeding through agronomy decisions and chemical usage."

Mr Donnell cut 80ha of barley from his rotation this year but would have dropped triple that amount if there was not a potential long-term, agronomic impact on the program.

"We actually increased barley area this year but at least there will be about 300 tonnes less of barley by dropping one paddock," he said.

Although Mr Donnell signed forward contracts for some of his barley a week prior to China's announcement, he was still "unclear" about the tariff's financial impact.

"There is no point building sheds and silos just yet, we just need to be patient and see if the price goes down dramatically before taking drastic measures," he said.

But, if barley prices do collapse, Mr Donnell's barley would remain on-farm.

"The cost of production makes it a no-brainer to wait before selling but will an abundance of domestic supply mean downward pressure on prices for a while?" he said.

RELATED READING: Barley growers consider tariff safeguards

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