The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Hoping for a smooth run


Harvest has started and stalled across the Wimmera, Mallee and Grampians.

Weather conditions had crops ready significan­tly earlier than last season, but recent rain has stopped headers in paddocks.

Rupanyup South farmer Paul Oxbrow said he had started harvest two to three weeks earlier than last season.

“It wasn’t as wet as last season – June, July and August were as wet as it has been in a long time during those months, but it was dry from September onward, prior to the storms at the weekend,” he said.

“We had some water logging in the beginning in some unestablis­hed crops, but what grew through that is looking good.

“The weather has been favourable with a cooler-than-normal spring, so crops were able to access the water in the profile through October and November.”

Mr Oxbrow said production was looking to be above average.

“We don’t know how far above average until the headers are in the paddocks, but the cool finish will be worth a lot and we’re expecting a favourable result,” he said.

Mr Oxbrow said grain prices were strong in most areas.

“Prices for cereals, lentils and chickpeas are strong and canola is reasonable, but it could be better,” he said.

“What we’re hoping for now is an efficient and safe harvest.”

Mr Oxbrow said he hoped to finish harvest by Christmas.

“It was a challengin­g start to the growing season with a wet beginning and continuous slug damage and baiting in the middle of the year, so it will be good to finish with a smooth run,” he said.

Positive outlook

National Farmers’ Federation president David Jochinke, a Murra Warra farmer, said more crops were looking good as he finished harvesting lentils and prepared to start on canola.

“We were disappoint­ed our lentils were a bit frosted, but it was understand­able with the conditions – we’re getting something, so the glass is half full there,” he said last week.

“Although it’s hard to guess, the canola crops are looking excellent and reasonable wheat and barley crops are sitting there.

I’m hearing from people who are into barley that it’s going malt, so the quality isn’t bad, but it’s still early.”

Mr Jochinke said subsoil moisture from rain last year and into this year helped at the back end of the season, when spring rain was down.

“We had a relatively full profile and it would have caused havoc if we didn’t,” he said.

“It’s definitely easier to get around paddocks, but we did miss some moisture that would have increased the potential we are seeing.”

Mr Jochinke said canola prices had decreased slightly since the start of the season and cereals and lentil prices were strong.

“Harvest pressure hasn’t moved demand much, so canola is still above the long-term average and barley is about $350,” he said.

“Everyone’s strategy is different, so farmers will decide on what they need for cash flow.”

Mr Jochinke said a trend was farmers wanting to harvest crops as quickly as possible to mitigate any risks.

“People are investing in more gear to be able to get the crop off as soon as it is ready,” he said.

 ?? Picture: PAUL CARRACHER ?? FAMILY AFFAIR: Alex Oxbrow prepares to harvest barley at his family’s Rupanyup South farm.
Picture: PAUL CARRACHER FAMILY AFFAIR: Alex Oxbrow prepares to harvest barley at his family’s Rupanyup South farm.

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