Eyes to the sky as soil profiles look to rebound

Eyes to the sky as soil profiles look to rebound

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GEARING UP: Agronomists believe this winter cropping season could be the best for canola since 2016 when this photo was taken.

GEARING UP: Agronomists believe this winter cropping season could be the best for canola since 2016 when this photo was taken.

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AGRONOMISTS believe the region's crop farmers could be in for their best chance of planting a winter crop in more than three years this season. Widespread rai...

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AGRONOMISTS believe the region's crop farmers could be in for their best chance of planting a winter crop in more than three years this season.

Widespread rainfall throughout late January and February has helped some long-suffering soil profiles bounce back to being nearly replenished.

Pursehouse Rural agronomist Matt Roseby said many of his clients were busy preparing to plant a winter crop.

"All of my blokes have been flat out spraying fallows and getting seed ready for winter crops," Mr Roseby said.

"Particularly early winter crops such as faba beans and canola."

Mr Roseby said farmers were now hanging out for rain in the next few weeks to help get the crop in the ground.

"I think everyone's soil profiles would have been boosted by that recent rain, but most paddocks are still sitting at 75 per cent of their soil profile or less," he said.

"There's certainly plenty of room for more moisture, that's for sure.

"In saying that, I think most people will start with faba beans as soon as it rains in April.

"I think it's fair to say any rain we get in the next week or so will be really welcome."

HuntAg agronomist Jim Hunt said cropping potential varied "from paddock to paddock".

"In my opinion, farmers should be really aiming to crop the best paddock option available to them," Mr Hunt said.

"While some paddocks' soil profiles have really improved, they are still a long way off being full.

"In saying that, we do have about a month's buffer to get some rain to be able to plant winter crops.

"So there is time to get that last bit of rain."

Mr Hunt said it was crucial for farmers to stick to their long-term cropping plans.

"I think there isn't much point for people to plant in a paddock with a low soil profile, which could lead to a failed crop," he said.

"By planning ahead two or three years, you can really capitalise on some of the better long-term soil profiles.

"At the moment, we won't need too much more rain to be able to sow, but we probably need another four inches of rain throughout the season for the crops to come off."

As well as climatic challenges, Mr Hunt said farmers were also dealing with high numbers of Heliothis (moths) around the region.

"We are seeing higher numbers of moths around the place and is that just due to weather patterns," he said.

"They can cause some damage to pasture, fodder and things like that.

"There are a few different ways to get around them and I think most guys are doing what they can.

"I have heard a few people talk about some high grasshopper numbers too, but I haven't personally come across it at all."

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