In dry weather, plant­ing be­comes quite a gam­ble

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE | RURAL -

COM­ING up to the end of the plant­ing sea­son with un­sea­sonal dry con­di­tions in the past month, farm­ers are hav­ing to de­cide whether it’s worth skip­ping the sum­mer crop al­to­gether.

Such was the case with Monto farmer Ja­son Larsen, who got an early start on plant­ing mung­bean on the first 120 acres (48.5 hectares) of his prop­erty and had to de­cide whether or not to go ahead with the re­main­ing 280.

“I fin­ished plant­ing in Jan­uary be­cause we pre-wa­tered all our ground,” Mr Larsen said.

“A lot of peo­ple have planted on sim­i­lar amounts of rain­fall, but we’re strug­gling with keep­ing our crop good with a full ir­ri­ga­tion.

“Across the board, Monto’s missed out; there are lit­tle patches of green here and there, but other than that it’s pretty or­di­nary.”

Pre-wa­ter­ing crops takes two 10-hour shifts a day across the pad­dock, and Mr Larsen has been wa­ter­ing ever since.

At this stage, with a to­tal of 54.8mm of rain scat­tered across the area in the last month ac­cord­ing to Weather­zone, it be­comes a choice be­tween com­mit­ting to ir­ri­ga­tion or hold­ing off.

“If we don’t get rain in this sea­son, this plan­ning win­dow, we won’t plant,” Mr Larsen said.

“If you don’t have enough sub­soil mois­ture, you are bet­ter off leav­ing it and wait for the next sea­son be­cause you’re ac­tu­ally sav­ing money.”

PHOTO: JACK LAWRIE

RISK AS­SESS­MENT: Ja­son Larsen will hold off on the rest of his sum­mer crop towait for win­ter if rain doesn’t come soon.

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