Pleasant surprise in Katanning

30 Dec, 2016 02:00 AM
Katanning farmer Ben Kowald.
We had patches of frost but not as much as we were expecting.
Katanning farmer Ben Kowald.

EXPECTATIONS were exceeded for Katanning farmer Ben Kowald in 2016, resulting in one of his best seasons yet.

Ben put in 1000 hectares this year, with 430ha of canola, 200ha of barley, 150ha of wheat, and the remainder planted to oats, peas and lupins.

He said despite some frost damage, he was pleasantly surprised with most of his crops.

"We had patches of frost but not as much as we were expecting," he said.

"We've got quite undulating country so we don't usually get complete frost wipe-outs, but we put oats in most of our frost-prone, low-lying areas to combat that risk."

Ben said his wheat suffered the most frost damage, but he was still happy with his yields.

"We put in Mace and Scepter and it averaged about 3.4 tonnes per hectare, with most of it going APW so we were happy with that.

"The Scepter was really promising."

Ben said his Stingray canola was also pleasing, averaging 1.8t/ha, while his Oxford barley averaged 3.7t/ha.

After starting harvest about a week later than usual in early November, he plans to stick to a similar mix for the 2017 season.

"We usually stick to a fairly steady formula, so we'll probably crop a similar program next year," he said.

Ben said it had also been a good year for his 5000 Merino sheep, despite lower than expected lambing results.

"There was about a 5 per cent drop in lambing with our maiden ewes so that was a bit disappointing, but overall we were pretty happy," he said.

"We had a lot of rain this year, sheep feed was phenomenal and our crops yielded well - it was one of our best years."



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