In dry weather, planting becomes quite a gamble
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.”
RISK ASSESSMENT: Jason Larsen will hold off on the rest of his summer crop towait for winter if rain doesn’t come soon.