bloom boost

Tasmanian Country - - FRONT PAGE - KAROLIN MACGRE­GOR

WELL-timed rains have helped give Tas­ma­nian poppy crops a boost in the lead-up to flow­er­ing.

Good rains over the past cou­ple of weeks ar­rived at an ideal time for many poppy crops.

Tas­ma­nian Al­ka­loids act­ing field op­er­a­tions man­ager Noel Be­van said most crops were grow­ing well.

“That week of east­erly weather was un­usual, we don’t seem to get as many of those sys­tems now, but it was ide­ally timed,” he said.

“It was just at the right time for a lot of crops and has made a big im­prove­ment, es­pe­cially in the Mid­lands and the South.”

Mr Be­van said a lot of the com­pany’s 5000ha of pop­pies were now in the cru­cial flow­er­ing stage.

De­spite re­cent wet con­di­tions, Mr Be­van said so far there had been no ma­jor fun­gal is­sues with the crop.

“There have been a few hot spots, but it hasn’t been as bad as we thought it would be,” he said.

“I think that cou­ple of hot days prob­a­bly helped clear it up quickly.”

Mo­ri­arty farmer Colin Chap­lin has been grow­ing pop­pies for a num­ber of years and they still form an im­por­tant part of his crop­ping ro­ta­tions.

Af­ter low yields last year, he is hop­ing this sea­son’s crop will per­form bet­ter in his North­West re­gion.

“Our area last year was a bit poor in yields, we had a hot Novem­ber and the crop went to flower a bit too fast.

“This year it has been cooler, so the crop has grown a bit slower and hope­fully that will im­prove the yields.”

More rain is forecast over the next few days, but Mr Chap­lin said that was un­likely to cause too many prob­lems for his pop­pies.

Mr Be­van said poppy har­vest­ing in Tas­ma­nia was sched­uled to start in about mid-Jan­uary.

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