AFTER a sketchy start to the season, croppers on Kangaroo Island are on the home-stretch to harvest and, despite some decent challenges arising from waterlogging earlier in the season, crops have recovered well and are expected to produce solid yields.
A dry start in April was felt across the board and Parndana mixed-farmer Michael Mills received just 13 millimetres to kickstart seeding.
"We sowed into very little moisture - it was about the second week of May and the break just would not arrive," he said.
But after beginning his 1300 hectare cropping program in less than ideal conditions, about 15mm fell on May 7 with a decent 25mm follow-up a couple of weeks later to help set crops up for the year.
"There was scattered germination because it was borderline dry sowing," Mr Mills said.
But who was to forecast that come the end of July, growers' would battle 320mm of rain that caused all sorts of issues?
Canola and barley crops were the hardest hit by heavy winter falls, with yields expected to be down by up to 30 per cent.
"Wheat and broad beans recovered well but barley and canola haven't recovered as well and will have yield issues," Mr Mills said.
Despite a bit of a rollercoaster season, harvest for the Mills family is expected to begin in about month.
"Canola has finished flowering and weather dependent, it will be harvested in (late November)," Mr Mills said.
Harvest will come slightly early this year because the cold and wet weather meant the flowering of some major crops was short.
Elders Kingscote agronomist Maree Gifford described the island's start to the season as "terrible" but crop performance was not too badly affected.
"Crop emergence was really effected by the late start," she said.
"The cold and wet that followed very soon after meant crop growth was slow and without heat to help, crops just could not get moving."
Ms Gifford said slow emergence had not affected overall crop performance much.
"Weeds definitely enjoyed the conditions though, while slugs and snails have also affected canola crops quite badly," she said.
Patchy emergence has also been caused from the sporadic rainfall.
"It was not until August that crops found their legs a bit," Ms Gifford said.
"Wheat is looking a lot better now and coming to head nicely. That was not expected since it was probably the most affected."
Most croppers on the island will begin harvest at the end of November and Nutrien Ag Solutions agronomist Angus Slack reiterated crops in the low-rainfall zone were drying off and high-rainfall areas were continuing well and would benefit from the late rain.
"It has also been a relatively tough pasture year - there has not been a lot of growth because the spring has been slow to warm up," he said.
Mr Slack said weed control and nitrogen management has been difficult off the back of the tough conditions.
"Timely management of inputs has affected the overall performance for the year, that is for sure," he said.
"We are hoping for a mild finish to help with yields."
Weed pressures meant ryegrass in particular did not get a knockdown on time and, according to Mr Slack, its full effects would be realised at the silos where quality issues would be determined.
Capeweed also caused challenges in pastures but Mr Slack said graziers were able to get on top of it.
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