Monto harvest comes in
Chickpeas up as barley threatened
HARVEST season is wrapping up in the Monto area and it’s not looking good for planters of barley.
While wheat-growers enjoyed a successful harvest and chickpeas boomed this year, an unexpectedly wet June and an outbreak of net blotch bacteria has devastated local barley crops.
Monto Grain Cooperative president Lex Dowd said it was good farmers did not put all their eggs in one basket.
“The yields for barley was down about 50% due to fungal infection, and the market price went down as well,” Mr Dowd said.
“I’d go so far as to call it a disaster.”
Some barley planters were able to alleviate the damage by planting multiple varieties.
However, agronomist Kendall Muller said the difference in resistance would have been negligible.
“There’s no real varieties that are highly resistant at the present time,” Mr Muller said.
He said net blotch was a fairly new strain of disease and breeders were still working on ways to counter it.
“Right now, the best bet for farmers is to avoid planting any barley in that soil for three to four years,” Mr Muller said.
Despite a good harvest for wheat this year, farmers aren’t expected to make huge returns due to declining prices.
The yield for wheat was good, but prices went down from $275 to $235 per tonne.
Meanwhile, chickpea prices climbed dramatically.
Mr Dowd attributed the increase to increased import demand from India.
“World supply and demand is what always dictates these things, and it’s usually a shortage or crop-failure that dictates these things,” he said.
“What that’s done this year is pushed prices over a thousand dollars a tonne for chickpeas.”
The Monto Grain Cooperative will sell its takings back to the local markets, while chickpeas are expected to be exported.
HARVEST REPORT: A successful harvest for wheat, and a disaster for barley hit by net blotch.