IT has been a dry start to the growing season at the Fuchsbichlers’ Bruce Rock property, but the family is still hopeful a good rain could turn the year around.
Kevin Fuchsbichler and son Josh cropped about 1600 hectares this year and have received just 70 millimetres of rain since the start of April.
The cropping program is made up of about 1000ha of Mace wheat, 300ha of Scope and Latrobe variety barley, 90ha of Williams oats and 70ha of Jurien lupins.
Close to 200ha of cereal rye was also in the mix.
Josh said about 95 per cent of the crop was planted dry, with 10mm of rain falling during seeding.
He said earlier sown paddocks had germinated better than those planted towards the end of seeding in early June.
“It’s not looking too bad, a bit more rain would be good,” Josh said.
“Pretty much all of the crop is up but we’ve had a patchy germination and from what I’ve seen around the area, we’re not the only ones.
“The earlier stuff seems to be doing a bit better than the later stuff.
“I did put the bar in as deep as I could to chase the moisture, but most crops would be about a month behind where they were this time last year.
“We’re still feeling optimistic but if we got some rain shortly it would really boost things along.”
Josh said 100mm of summer rain meant there was some subsoil moisture that had helped kick the season along.
He said the summer rain had also provided ample green feed for his 2500 Merino sheep earlier in the year, which are being supplementary fed.
“One of the paddocks that we set aside for them was barley stubble from last year and with the summer rain it had some self-sown barley on there which kept them going for a while,” he said.
“We also put them on a 100ha oat paddock – there were a few oats that came up from there.
“It meant that I was able to hold back on the hand feeding until a little later, instead of doing it twice a week I started doing it once a week just to keep their condition up and then it ended up being twice a week.”
Josh said he expected to continue supplementary feeding his sheep a mixture of oats and lupins for some time.
“With the pastures there’s a slight green tinge there, but still I dare say I’ll still be hand feeding for quite some time if we don’t get some decent rain shortly and some warm weather to boost the pastures along,” he said.
“We’ve been lucky the past couple of years we’ve had plenty of sheep feed so the silos have been sitting there full and we haven’t had to buy any feed in.”
The Fuchsbichlers had completed a week of shearing when Farm Weekly dropped in a few weeks ago.
Josh was also busy spraying and preparing for some time away from the farm on an overseas holiday.