Heat affects harvest

By Country News on December 09, 2015

Despite some unseasonably hot weather and heavy rainfall, it has been a steady harvest season in the southern Riverina.

Barooga farmer John Bruce works with 1200ha of crops and said although they sustained some damage from the weather, it was a slightly better season than average overall.

‘‘If we could swap the first two weeks of October with the last two weeks, it would’ve been better,’’ he said.

The heat affected the yield and the quality of the crops, while the rain further impacted on their quality.

Nonetheless, Mr Bruce was satisfied.

‘‘We had good oil in the canola this year and all good grains in the wheat. The quality just let us down a little bit.’’

Mr Bruce’s crop is 50 per cent wheat and the rest a split between barley and canola.

This year he yielded around 2.7tonne/ha of wheat, 3.4tonne/ha of barley and 1.7tonne/ha of canola.

Mr Bruce, who is also Riverine Plains chairman, said the southern Riverina was a ‘‘good patch’’ of dryland and ‘‘we have never not had a harvest’’.

He said there were always the standard challenges during the year, like input prices and marketing, but usually the harvesting ran smoothly in his area and as far as he knew, neighbouring areas were also having a reasonable season.

Agronomist Peter Spencer from IK Caldwell in Cobram said the yield and performance of his clients had varied across the district according to the season’s rainfall.

‘‘It’s been an unpredictable year, one of extremes,’’ he said.

Mr Spencer works with cropping farmers from both sides of the Murray River.

‘‘We had both extremes. To the west of this region (Cobram), there was nowhere near enough rain and to the east there was too much rain.’’

A few hot days early in October affected early grain development of wheat crops and Mr Spencer said some regions were ‘‘very dry’’.

‘‘(The weather) affected the wheat more than other cereals and also affected some canola crops.’’

Although harvest finished only two weeks ago for Mr Bruce, he is already planning for the year ahead with his agronomist and analysing the reasons as to why some of his paddocks performed better than others this year.

By Country News on December 09, 2015

Dummy text