Heavy rain prompts double crop

Heavy rain prompts double crop


Grains
Gnowangerup farmer Collyn Garnett has trialled growing cowpeas over summer.

Gnowangerup farmer Collyn Garnett has trialled growing cowpeas over summer.

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GNOWANGERUP farmer Collyn Garnett has taken advantage of a wetter than average 2016, putting several pasture seed varieties to the test as potential summer crops.

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GNOWANGERUP farmer Collyn Garnett has taken advantage of a wetter than average 2016, putting several pasture seed varieties to the test as potential summer crops.

Mr Garnett, who farms with wife Tanya and parents Dick and Barbara, has trialled cowpeas, millet and two sorghum varieties on a four hectare holding paddock on his 3600ha property.

He sowed the trial crop in early December after receiving 43 millimetres of rain and is happy with its progress, despite receiving no more rain until late January.

"For the minimal rainfall we've had this summer we're quite surprised with how well it's gone, especially the Stargrazer forage sorghum, that's going quite well," Mr Garnett said.

He is trialling the pasture varieties in hope of establishing a reliable summer crop to graze his 4500 Merino ewes and 60 store cattle on.

The Garnetts also run Willemenup Poll-Merino stud, Curlew Creek Poll-Dorset stud and Yonga Downs White Suffolk stud.

The cowpeas were planted at 40 kilograms per hectare, with a nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus based fertiliser at a rate of 30kg/ha.

It's the first time Mr Garnett has planted cowpeas but with the crop growing well and plans to increase stock numbers, it may not be the last.

"I think we'll give them another go definitely for grazing, not as much from a grain point of view," he said.

"It's always good to get two crops in a season.

"We just seem to be getting more summer rain so we've got to make use of it when it comes."

Heavy rains in Gnowangerup in January 2016 led to a positive pasture season.

"Last season we had green feed since the middle of January and more or less spring pastures in June," he said.

"We did a paddock of millet last year and it was very successful with the rains we had.

"We got a lot of production and it was well worthwhile."

Mr Garnett said he also hoped the cowpea's nitrogen fixing qualities would improve pastures in future years.

Along with livestock, the Gnowangerup farmer runs a cropping program, which he plans to adjust in 2017.

"When the opportunity arises we'll look at grazing more stock and reducing the cropping area," he said.

"We'll be planting more pulses in the winter for better weed control and we've just gone into export hay as well, so we'll be doing more of that this year."

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