Young crops have low yield but high quality

Local farmers may be struggling with the drought but with high quality summer crops and rain across the region through the new year things are starting to look up.

Only eight days into the new year Young is set to reach its average rainfall for the month of 40.6mm having received 36.2 millimeters of rain in less than two weeks.

Retired agronomist Paul Parker said that farmers across the region had reported to him that the summer harvest came off ‘pretty well.’

“Yields were down, however the quality was high,” he said. 

“Some samples had high levels of screening, but for the majority it wasn’t too bad.” 

The good news kept on coming for farmers with prices per tonne up for both wheat and canola grain according to Mr Parker with locals being paid around $450 a tonne compared to $250 a tonne in previous years for wheat and some locals reporting being paid $645 a tonne for canola delivered locally compared with an average of $500 a tonne delivered to port in years past.

“In our are the majority did very well,” Mr Parker said.

Mr Parker believes the higher prices are due to the drought and with farmers out west struggling to maintain or even sew their crops locally the farmers were able to see some benefit.

Pasture growth has been average with very little around, however Mr Parker warned that the recent rain can knock the quality down.

“The storms will bring on pasture growth, especially lucerne which we’ve noticed does very well with the rain.”

Mr Parker’s advice to local farmers is to stay on top of weeds that will germinate in the current conditions as they can cause issues for crops by lowering quality and stealing moisture as well as cause health issues with livestock.

According to Mr Parker the biggest benefit the region has seen from the recent storms has been the water running back into dams with a lot of farmers not only having to hand feed stock but having to cart water as well.

However, though the heavy rain has been good for water levels it has been causing havoc on top soils.

“With the bare ground its not soaking in and the top soil is washing away,” Mr Parker said.

“Rubbish and manure is also flowing into dams which can cause water quality issues.”

As for what would be ideal over the next couple of weeks for farmers heading into the autumn crop season?

“More normal temperatures rather than the heat we’ve had,” Mr Parker said. “And several days of steady rain.”