Watering strategies discussed
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.