Mixed bag for peanut crop

An­nual har­vest has only started at Coal­stoun Lakes

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - Erica Mur­ree erica.mur­ree@cnbtimes.com.au

❝ With the dif­fer­ent yields, it just shows how a bit of wa­ter would ben­e­fit the val­ley. — Mark Rack­e­mann

USU­ALLY at this time of year, Coal­stoun Lakes peanut farm­ers would have fin­ished thresh­ing and planted a win­ter crop of wheat.

But due to the un­sea­son­able weather con­di­tions, peanut har­vest­ing has only started in the past few weeks.

For farm­ers like the Rack­e­mann fam­ily, it’s all hands on deck.

Mark Rack­e­mann said con­sid­er­ing the drought con­di­tions, he was re­lieved there was any sort of a crop.

“Af­ter three months of phe­nom­e­nal heat ear­lier in the sea­son, peanuts must be pretty tough to sur­vive,” he said.

Mr Rack­e­mann said falls of 200mm and then Cy­clone Deb­bie with its 112mm drench­ing ac­tu­ally saved the crop.

“This was fol­lowed up by a fur­ther 20mm and a few sprin­kles here and there,” he said.

“We could have had one more fall to fill out the crop.”

The dry­land crop at this stage was prob­a­bly go­ing about three-quar­ters a ton to the acre, Mr Rack­e­mann said.

But it was a dif­fer­ent story on the blocks near Ban Ban, where Rack­e­mann Re­sources used trickle ir­ri­ga­tion.

Some of the blocks have al­ready been har­vested and yielded 7–7.5 tonnes to the hectare.

Mr Rack­e­mann said they grew the peanuts us­ing trickle tapes for the first time.

“This was just a trial but we found one tape be­tween two rows worked well,” he said.

“It was suf­fi­cient to keep the bed wet.”

He said only the peanuts got the wa­ter which was not re­quired for the wa­ter­mel­ons they were grow­ing at that time.

“It is a lot of work putting in the tapes but at the end it is great just to be able to turn a tap on and off to what­ever block you want wa­tered,” Mr Rack­e­mann said.

“A plus was not hav­ing the ex­pen­sive use of ir­ri­ga­tors.

“This gave a 95% wa­ter use ef­fi­ciency.

“Over­all we used 4ML of wa­ter per hectare.

“With the dif­fer­ent yields, it just showed how a bit of wa­ter would ben­e­fit the val­ley.”

This sea­son, Rack­e­mann Re­sources has used some new tech­nol­ogy thanks to fel­low peanut farm­ers and the en­gi­neer­ing work of WV Seabrook & Sons.

Mr Rack­e­mann said af­ter four pretty or­di­nary years, the fam­ily de­cided to take the gam­ble and go ahead with the pur­chase of a six-row peanut cut­ter.

“It’s the old belts sys­tem with some new tech­nol­ogy,” he said. “The puller driven on hy­draulics is more user-friendly. “The dig­ger pulls six rows at a time into three windrows. This suits the thresher as it trav­els the same wheel tracks.” Rack­e­mann Re­sources grew five va­ri­eties this sea­son: Kairi, Fisher, Red Vale and the droughtre­sis­tant Mid­dle­ton va­ri­ety.

Mr Rack­e­mann said the Kairi va­ri­ety was be­com­ing com­mer­cially avail­able.

“PCA plant breeder Gra­ham Wright has spent 12 years per­fect­ing this strain that prom­ises to in­crease yield and re­duce pest and dis­ease con­trol costs,” he said.

“It’s also safer, with dis­ease-re­sis­tance bred into them.

“Farm­ers are less likely to lose the crop if they had a wet har­vest.”

Mr Rack­e­mann said an­other strain called Taabinga looked to be a good one.

He added that farm­ers were also ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a wild pig prob­lem as they went to cor­ner blocks.

“We’re find­ing foot­prints and dig­ging amongst the peanuts,” he said.

“It’s only the last sea­son or so but the prob­lem is rapidly ris­ing.”

PHO­TOS: ERICA MUR­REE

THRESH­ING UN­DER WAY: Coal­stoun Lakes peanut farm­ers, in­clud­ing Mark Rack­e­mann, are sur­prised at the yield they are get­ting af­ter drought con­di­tions.

Red dust in Coal­stoun Lakes as thresh­ing has be­gun.

Peanuts are trans­ferred into bins and taken to on-farm si­los.

Rack­e­mann Re­sources has pur­chased a six-row cut­ter.

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