Rain gives welcome harvest break

26 Dec, 2016 02:00 AM
Alex Leake.
Alex Leake.

LAST week's 10 millimetres of rain at Alex Leake's farm didn't slow harvest down too much as Alex, father David and worker Tony Patterson were all ready for a maintenance day.

"It was perfectly timed for us," Alex said.

The crew was coming to the tail-end of its harvest program with only three or four days left to go.

Alex said it had been a reasonable season although frost had taken the gloss off what was hoping to be an excellent season.

However, a decision to increase canola plantings paid off.

"We increased our plantings of canola from an average of 1500 hectares up to 1700 because of the good break and that has worked out," he said.

"Our 43Y23 canola crop yielded 2.2 tonnes per hectare and the Bonito went 1.8t/ha - it was definitely some of the best canola we have grown as we normally budget for 1.5t/ha.

"However, the barley was the most frost-affected and what was potentially going to be a 3 to 4t/ha crop yielded 2.6t/ha and went to Feed and a couple to Scope 2 grade.

"Lupins were also a disappointment, yielding 1.5t/ha and in some patches, frost damage meant we were only getting 300kg/ha."

Alex said the 50:50 split between Mace and Magenta wheat yielded 2.5t/ha, however Magenta was "the clear stand out".

For 2017, Alex is planning to try Spartacus barley and Sceptre to wheat after bulking up seed this year and will consider increasing canola plantings if there's a good break.

"We had over 400mm of rain this season so in some of the wheat and barley paddocks there is a fair weed burden so we will probably have a few more fallow paddocks next year," he said.



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