WHILE the season has started well on the Eyre Peninsula, the longevity of strong grain prices remains a concern on the Matthews farm at Cootra.
Todd Matthews said the family farm was on track for an above-average season, but good prices at harvest time would be needed to offset the high input costs.
"The biggest concern is whether these grain prices hold up or not, after we have spent so much money growing the crop," he said.
"This season will be about finding the right balance to manage that risk.
"The wet start to the season is great, but some paddocks are going to need a fair bit of top-dressing after last year's good season."
Mr Matthews crops wheat, barley, canola, field peas and lentils, alongside 450 Dohne Merino breeding ewes, with parents John and Veronica Matthews and workman Matt Parsons.
They are trialling 200 hectares of Highland lentils for the first time, alongside a handful of local growers.
"We're also trialling GM canola for the first time, after it was marketed well locally last year," he said.
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Strong summer rain has also added certainty, with a "solid profile of moisture" available to crops.
"Sowing started slightly earlier this year (the Thursday before Easter), after which we received 19 millimetres of rain over Easter," Mr Matthews said.
"We're definitely tracking above-average on rainfall."
Weed spraying in pastures is under way, along with rolling field peas and lentils, and spreading mice bait as a precaution in canola and barley.
Mr Matthews said they sent some of last year's field peas to Adelaide this week, capitalising on the current good prices (up to $680/t), with fertiliser in the truck upon its return.
They were also fortunate to sell downgraded wheat, that had been bagged, direct to Lucky Bay port for a reasonable price through the T-Ports post-harvest delivery program.
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