Rain waiting game: crops dry out
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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.”
WAITING GAME: Pat Gorman is hoping for rain to help his wheat crop continue to grow .