WITH fresh memories of a bag average on their farm in 2002, Pindar farmers Peter and Miriam Barnetson don¹t want to get too excited about this year¹s prospects.
But good summer rain, April showers and last weekend¹s 21mm of soaking rain, have produced frequent entries into the rainfall chart which has now reached nearly 150mm for the year.
The annual average is 300mm so they¹re halfway home as far as moisture is concerned.
This time last year, rainfall figures totalled 50mm and after a dry June scare, the season finished well for a six-bag average.
³We were an inch away from having a bolter of a year,² Mr Barnetson said. ³But that¹s farming.²
With good subsoil moisture adding to the April showers, Mr Barnetson jumped at the chance to sow 325ha (800ac) of canola starting on April 13. Then for good measure, he added 540ha (1330ac) of lupins, in one of his earliest lupin plantings.
³We had the canola and lupins out of the ground on Anzac Day and I¹m happy with their progress,² he said.
He is now undertaking a 3000ha (7500ac) wheat program.
³We are putting in Calingiri, Bonnie Rock and Wyalkatchem with the main crop being Wyalkatchem,² he said.
³It has been one of the best moisture years for a start since the nineties and the subsoil moisture is very comforting.
³We've been digging in at five inches and tapping into the subsoil moisture and that¹s percolating up to wet the seed beds.
³But the good thing is the moisture on top that¹s connecting with it so we¹ve got a pretty full soil profile (of moisture).
³We¹re very lucky because five or six km further west earlier this month it was still pretty dry.
³But we love it out here,² Mr Barnetson said. ³It¹s underrated country and while our best result was a 2t/ha average in 1997 on nine inches(228mm)of rain, I think there is potential for better yields.
³We¹re not ploughing anymore, and with the knife points and one pass we¹re conserving moisture.
³In a year like this one, we¹ll tweak the crops with Flexi-N according to how the season develops, and hopefully with good finishing rains we¹ll start to see some of the potential.²