A rain shortage brings concern to grain growers
ALTHOUGH dry weather continues to push grain prices up, local growers need to see some decent rain in the next month.
Most farmers in the region are currently travelling well with good soil moisture and have not seen their crops suffer given the generous break in April.
But if we don’t see some rain in the next four weeks, this could start to look a bit bleak.
“It is not critical yet,” said Wayne McMonigle from Whitty Produce.
“We still have ground moisture, but we need rain soon to keep things going along and to keep it fresh.”
It is, however, getting to a critical stage in Western Australia, and the middle of NSW.
But the positive outcome of the dry weather across Australia is the kick up in value, with wheat prices in Melbourne at about $ 240 a tonne delivered, up $ 30 since harvest time.
“If it stays dry, the prices will continue to rise,” Mr McMonigle said.
“But farmers will want to get out and put urea on the crops, but in order to do that, we need rain to wash it into the ground – so fingers crossed, we will see some rain in the next month.”
He said the few millimetres over the last few weeks was better than nothing, but not really enough.
“We don’t need a lot of rain this time of year, because it is so cold, but we need more than that.”
Most growers would have sown earlier enough to avoid any germination problems, but late crops are struggling with the dry.
Fourth generation Springhurst farmer Peter Wighton has wheat, canola and oats in the ground, and although it’s looking good now, he would also like to see it a bit wetter.
“I guess farmers are always looking for rain,” Mr Wighton said.
“It certainly wouldn’t hurt.”
For now, he is more concerned about the red- legged earth mites at the perimeters of his crop.
Slugs also usually make an appearance when canola is at an early stage.
“There are not many slugs around this year, so thank goodness,” he said.
Canola prices are still strong.
Given that wheat prices were so low at sowing time, a lot of canola was put in this year, but prices are holding, which many farmers will be relying on.