Justin and Julie McClure, Kallara Station, Tilpa, have about two weeks of harvest to complete between 4000 and 5000 hectares of organic oats grown on lakebed country that 12 months ago was under water.
In late November 2022, flood waters were rolling down the Darling, Paroo and Warrego rivers and the McLures, along with many other farmers on those waterways, were settling in for a long wait.
By the time the floods moved off Kallara, Mr McClure said as much as 60,000 of the 67,000ha property had been inundated.
"We had 16 different islands with stock on every second one," he said.
"It was a battle with worms, and we had to use boats, planes and helicopters to reach them.
Kallara is about 200 kilometres down river from Bourke, and last season they lost about 1200ha of winter cereal crop and the water saturated hundreds of round hay bales.
This year, Kallara is harvesting Mitika and Yallara milling oats for the organic rolled oats market and will be shipping the grain more than 920km to Blue Lake Milling at Bordertown, SA.
"The oat market has been good to us; we've been supported by contracts for 12 years now."
Mitika is an early-maturing dwarf milling variety with improved grain quality and disease resistance, and Yallara is a medium-tall variety for milling grain or hay production.
Four headers and a team of 14 are flat out, getting the crops harvested, and if the weather holds, it could be all over in a fortnight.
"The weather's been funny; one day it can be 20 degrees and cold, and then the next it's 35 degrees and hot," Mr McClure said.
Logistics are not a problem for Mr McClure.
"We moved 400 tonnes of grain in four hours, with five trucks lined up," he said.
Once the harvest is complete, sorghum crops grown on the lake beds under pivot irrigators will become the priority.
Mr McClure said his ancestors began farming on the Darling at Wilcannia in 1874, when his great-grandfather on his mother's side, who was a paddle steamer skipper, grew raisins for export to Europe.
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