Short paddock feed in Upper SE

08 Aug, 2015 02:00 AM
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Early sown crops, like this canola, are performing much better than those sown later on Richard Harkness' farm at Tintinara.
Early sown crops, like this canola, are performing much better than those sown later on Richard Harkness' farm at Tintinara.

TINTINARA mixed farmer Richard Harkness, Gumburra Park, said his crops were holding up well to below-average winter rainfall but the biggest concern was pasture feed shortages.

The area enjoyed a good start to the end of May but the severe rainfall deficit in June and July had left the season hanging in the balance.

Early sown crops were performing much better than those sown later.

Many livestock producers were still supplementary feeding, with cold weather slowing pasture growth.

"We need about 75 millimetres for June and the same for July to be average but in June we didn't even get 25mm and July was only about 50mm so it will really depend how the next month or two goes," Richard said.

"If you look at the trend from August last year to July this year we have only had about nine inches (about 228mm) for the 12 months so the trend is not good.

"That trend has to be reversed - do I think that it will reversed quickly, probably not?"

Given predictions of El Nino and lack of soil moisture, he said it would be another "struggle to the line".

Last year, the cereal crops on Gumburra Park achieved average yields but legumes and canola crops were "well below average".

Next week, Richard will wean his lambs at the normal age but said many Upper South East sheep producers were considering strategies such as early weaning and sacrificing hay paddocks to wean lambs.

He said selling lambs early would also be considered.

"Because the prices are so good if they do end up selling crossbred lambs at 16 kilograms it is still $80 to $90, which people would still be quite happy with," Richard said.

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