The 'Golden Triangle', that area of northern NSW centred around Croppa Creek, has long been renowned for being a 'favoured' district for growing cereal crops.
And this past season, when grain growers west of the Newell Highway between Moree and Goondiwindi are staring at crops which will not be worth harvesting, Jamie O'Toole is thankful for a bit of lucky rainfall at the right time.
Mr O'Toole is the farm manager of the 8500-hectare Boolavilla, near Croppa Creek, for Warakirri Cropping, and he is relieved to be able to prepare for a harvest when he knows so many others won't be.
"I don't know what I have done right, but we've got some pretty handy crops considering the lack of rainfall," he said.
"I can't get over what my crops are doing at the moment, and if we are able to get a bit of rain soon, we will have a really cracking crop.
"We have had minimal rainfall during the growing season.
"Only 60 millimetres, with just three falls of any significance, and otherwise we had showers, but it has been enough to get our crops to this stage."
On Boolavilla, the 8500ha are given over to winter cereal crops, of Radar, Lancer and Sunmaster wheat, 44Y94 canola and barley, in rotation, with opportunity crops of sorghum and mungbeans through the summer.
The crop of Sunmaster wheat was grown on the paddock which had been in canola, and Mr O'Toole said, the basis of his successful wheat crop was due to the amount of soil moisture stored.
"We had more soil moisture at the end of last year's canola crop than what we started with," he said.
"Although we harvested 4.3 tonne of canola, there was still a fair bit of soil moisture left behind.
"We have been set up for a good yield."
Mr O'Toole said he hasn't done anything different during this season's preparation for his cropping program, with attention to keeping the fallow paddocks clean of weeds, although maintaining the stubble as ground cover to reduce evaporation.
"It has been a good learning curve, but every year is different," he said.
He also attributes his success to the advice and support given by his agronomist Leigh Norton, Delta, Moree.
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