Wa­ter­ing strate­gies dis­cussed

Shepparton News - Country News - - WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE -

Last week 60 Fin­ley Dis­cus­sion Group farm­ers at­tended group meet­ings to dis­cuss wa­ter­ing strate­gies, in­clud­ing car­ry­over wa­ter use.

Agri­cul­tural con­sul­tant John Lacy, who is the group fa­cil­i­ta­tor, said nearly all group farm­ers had car­ried over wa­ter and were us­ing this wa­ter to wa­ter their bet­ter crops.

‘‘We have of­ten dis­cussed car­ry­over wa­ter op­tions, and farm­ers who paid up to $140/Ml in au­tumn made a good de­ci­sion given cur­rent wa­ter prices were around $365/Ml,’’ Mr Lacy said.

‘‘All the farm­ers wished they had car­ried over more wa­ter. How­ever no-one would have pre­dicted we could be in the low­est rain­fall year on record.’’

For the year to date, one Ber­ri­gan farmer has had only 90 mm, a Blighty farmer 92 mm, the Rive­rina Plains Ber­ri­gan site 102 mm and the East Jer­ilderie group of farm­ers 102 to 107 mm.

‘‘It’s been very un­usual to have such a dry July and Au­gust so far,’’ Mr Lacy said.

‘‘Farm­ers who preir­ri­gated wheat and wa­tered up canola are spring wa­ter­ing with car­ry­over.

‘‘Most spray ir­ri­ga­tors wa­tered crops in July.’’

Grain trader Josh Phillips up­dated the farm­ers at the meet­ing on prices and mar­ket­ing trends.

‘‘With the cur­rent wheat price at $385 and canola at $563 th­ese crops are go­ing to be very prof­itable and th­ese prices are likely to in­crease. Many rice stub­ble pad­docks with good drainage and sown to wheat and oats were be­ing wa­tered,’’ he said.

The groups made de­ci­sions as to which non-pre­wa­tered wheat crops to wa­ter based on tiller num­bers.

‘‘The wheat was at the first to third node stage and run­ning up, and crops with 300 to 400 tillers/sq m were be­ing wa­tered while crops with 250 tillers were be­ing left,’’ Mr Lacy said.

‘‘Farm­ers thought the wa­ter­ing re­sponse would be 1-1.5 tonne/ha. Us­ing the group bud­get fig­ures, a 1.5 tonne/ha re­sponse jus­ti­fied buy­ing $365/Ml wa­ter but the 1 tonne/ha re­sponse didn’t.

‘‘This was not good news for farm­ers who did not carry over any wa­ter. Some farm­ers were still go­ing to wa­ter poorer wheat pad­docks for seed for next sea­son, cash flow and hav­ing stub­ble for stock after har­vest.’’

All the farm­ers wished they had car­ried over more wa­ter. How­ever no-one would have pre­dicted we could be in the low­est rain­fall year on record . . . It’s been very un­usual to have such a dry July and Au­gust Agri­cul­tural con­sul­tant John Lacy

In the field . . . A group of ir­ri­ga­tors from Fin­ley dis­cussed ir­ri­ga­tion strate­gies at a re­cent meet­ing.

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