Rain wait­ing game: crops dry out

What was mak­ing news in the

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News -

NORTH East grow­ers are ex­pected to de­cide in the next fort­night whether to cut their crops for hay or wait un­til har­vest time.

Rain will be the de­cid­ing fac­tor for wheat, canola, oats and trit­i­cale grow­ers, with more mois­ture needed to get a healthy re­turn on their crops later in the year.

Some grow­ers in other ar­eas of the state have al­ready de­cided to cut their crops now for hay but lo­cal grow­ers have a lit­tle bit longer to de­cide, ac­cord­ing to Michael Whitty from Whitty Pro­duce.

“A lot of farm­ers are tee­ter­ing on the edge of de­cid­ing whether to cut for hay or keep it for a crop,” he said.

“It’s go­ing okay at the mo­ment but we do need good Oc­to­ber rain.

“If we don’t have any this week­end, it could turn as the warm days are re­ally dry­ing it out.”

Mr Whitty said some grow­ers may find that cut­ting for hay was not the worst op­tion.

“They will look at the qual­ity of the crop and, if it isn’t go­ing to yield so well, they’ll look at the price of canola in com­par­i­son with the price of hay and there might not be a huge dif­fer­ence.”

Pat Gor­man, who grows wheat on his 600 acre prop­erty “Ama­roo” at Bowser, says he will wait for a crop.

He is hop­ing for an es­ti­mated yield of three tonnes to the hectare from his prop­erty which will come to fruition if there is good rain in the next few weeks.

“I’d pre­fer to har­vest it rather than cut it for hay,” he said.

“At the mo­ment, you can get around $350 per tonne for grain and $222 per tonne for hay.

“But with hay, you have to mar­ket it and hope it all goes well.”

It is a sim­i­lar story out at Boorhaman, where Damian O’Keefe re­mains op­ti­mistic he will be able to har­vest his canola.

“North of the Mur­ray River it’s look­ing pretty dras­tic but I think we’ll be look­ing al­right,” he said.

“A lot of grow­ers are go­ing to let their crops go through to rain.

“I’m def­i­nitely not cut­ting my canola for hay and at this stage we should still be able to get some yield for our wheat.

“But we re­ally need rain in the next cou­ple of days to give us an ex­tra five or 10 days.”

PHOTO: Si­mone Gladi­gau

WAIT­ING GAME: Pat Gor­man is hop­ing for rain to help his wheat crop con­tinue to grow .

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