March rain yields success

March rain generates canola legacy at Merriwa

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Ian Medd and his agronomist, Tim Sawley, Landmark Townsend, Merriwa (also on our front cover) inspect canola growth on Cavan, Merriwa.

Ian Medd and his agronomist, Tim Sawley, Landmark Townsend, Merriwa (also on our front cover) inspect canola growth on Cavan, Merriwa.

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A single day's rain of 120 millimetres was all the difference much of the Merriwa district needed to sow winter cereal and canola crops.

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MAKING the most of a full moisture profile following 120 millimetres of rain at the end of March in the Merriwa district, the Medd family has a third of their 2100 hectares under crop.

The family made full use of fallowed paddocks that could not be sown last year due to the drought and have sown 600ha to wheat and barley and another 180ha of mainly Banker CL canola, sown for the first time.

Banker CL is growing for the first time at Cavan, Merriwa.

Banker CL is growing for the first time at Cavan, Merriwa.

Ian Medd with his wife, Patricia, run a mixed-farming enterprise centred on cropping and cattle breeding, with their daughter, Alicia, and son, Jacob, at Cavan, just 15 kilometres west of town.

Mr Medd said the paddocks earmarked for sowing last year, which ended up being fallowed due to lack of sowing rain, were part of the cropping rotation of wheat, barley and canola.

The 53ha paddock of the new canola variety was sown on April 12 on a full moisture profile.

"The 120mm fell overnight on March 31 and caused a bit of destruction, but overall the good outweighed the bad," he said. "However, the topsoil was beginning to dry off, so we decided to sow a little earlier."

Local Landmark Townsend Merriwa agronomist, Tim Sawley, said the Medds sowed much deeper at a depth of 40mm instead of the normal 20mm "which you can do with a hybrid canola".

Banker Clearfield variety was direct-drilled at 2.8 kilograms a hectare with 90kg/ha of mono-ammonium phosphate and zinc at two per cent with a Simplicity tyne system set at 34 centimetre spacings in the red basalt clay paddocks.

Mr Sawley said in-crop rain of several falls had only totalled 35mm with the biggest single fall being just 15mm.

"I see the price of canola last week was selling at $625/tonne, so if the season treats the crop well, the Medds should gain a good return," he said.

"But the crops are holding up well and are in elevated paddocks so recent frosts have not had a great affect on them.

"That March rain set many growers up and there are also quite a few barley crops in the district that are looking quite fantastic at present."

The Medd family has 300ha of Suntop wheat and 200ha of feed barley, plus some paddocks of oats, which is being grazed by the Limousin/Shorthorn herd.

Mr Medd said the first-cross heifer progeny of those joinings would be joined to Limousin bulls and resulting calves grown out for the supermarket trade.

Cavan's crossbreds have gained recognition at the local steer and carcase show while steers prepared by St John's College, Dubbo, have also been successful at the Royal Queensland Show.

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