A NERVOUS punt on early planting is paying off for northern growers.
Yields in the district are “quite spectacular”, despite the lack of rainfall in August and September, said B&W Rural agronomist, Rob Long, Moree.
Growers who planted early were anxious during the potential frost period, but dodged a bullet and had been rewarded with good yields.
“Early planted crops that were essentially flowering and grain filling through the cooler months, before the heat wave, are yielding well,” he said.
Growers had reaped yields well above expectations and Mr Long said there’d been many barley crops that grew to in excess of five tonnes a hectare.
To date, not enough wheat had been harvested yet to determine yields, ecause rain had halted production.
B&W Rural Northstar manager Luke Fing said some growers had reported extraordinary barley yields this season, although not everybody shared in the success.
Harvest in the area had been generally quite good, with barley, wheat and chickpeas all yielding relatively well.
“We had a good start but a hard finish,” he said.
Precipitation had held up harvest, but Mr Fing said there hadn’t been any reports of rain damage.
Some growers reported hail damage from recent storms, but with only limited impacts.
Western NSW growers Damien and Steve Doyle (pictured) were also triumphant against a dry, hot September.
Their headers rolled through their barley last week at “Wistatin”, Euabalong, and yields averaged 2.7t/ha.
“It’s been a dry spring but our crop’s pulled through,” Damien Doyle said.
“We dodged a bullet really, because we planted them a bit deeper this year.”
Harvest had hit the halfway mark at Bellata, with yields beating growers’ predictions after a better finish to the season than predicted, McGregor Gourlay Bellata branch manager Glenn Tomlinson said.
Faba beans had averaged 3t/ha, chickpeas made 2-2.5t/ha and Lancer wheat produced an average of 3-4t/ha.
Mr Tomlinson said some varieties, such as Lancer wheat, had yielded well, with good quality despite the lack of late rain.
“Other varieties had high screenings and protein due to the dry finish,” he said.
Stripping was ongoing in the district, but so far growers were happy with results, Mr Tomlinson said.
However, not all areas around in the north enjoyed a high production season, with areas 50km west of Moree still struggling.
Mr Long said Burren Junction and Rowena didn’t get all their crop in and had to plant on limited soil moisture.
“That’s restricted their production,” he said.
Plenty of crops planted later are yet to be harvested in the district, which would have been affected by the dry finish.