DAMP weather and a light shower stopped headers last Wednesday at the Carson’s property at Binnu, just as they were getting into their harvest program.
Josh Carson was more than happy to chat with Farm Weekly while waiting for the cool weather to pass.
Previous cool weather had been welcomed in September and October, allowing the crops to finish off well and now Josh and younger brother Alex are ready for the northern Wheatbelt’s warmer weather pattern.
Mr Carson said recent cooler weather, combined with 10 millimetres of rain in September, spared the crops from finishing off too early and dropping potential yield and quality.
“It finished off pretty quick but we had 30mm right at the end of August which carried the moisture into September,” Mr Carson said.
Without that rain he said it would have been a different story.
Mr Carson said the cool weather at that time of the year was unusual with the season normally finishing hot.
“The hot finish cooks the crops but this year, except for five days of 30 degrees, the rest of the month was very cool,” he said.
Getting underway on October 15, Mr Carson said this was the latest they had ever started harvest.
“We would usually start in the first week of October,” he said.
With a 100 per cent cropping program this year, they will harvest 4200 hectares with 2800ha of wheat, 500ha of barley, 600ha of canola and 300ha of lupins.
By Monday they had worked their way through 350ha and the barley was going better than they predicted.
“We were thinking because of the dry September we would of had less crop out there, but the season finished off well,” he said.
“I would say most people would be happy with their canola as well, even though it was a late break and nothing germinated until May 26, the crops thrived on the warm growing conditions up here.
“We will end up with above-average canola yields because of the wet winter, cool September and sunny days.”
Mr Carson said everything else still finished off very well and they were hoping to be above their wheat average of 1.7 tonnes per hectare across the Binnu and Ajana properties.
He said the growing season was close to perfect.
“We have had 330mm for the year and 250mm for the growing season, so there was 80mm in summer,” he said.
“That’s spot on average for the area and it was the perfect amount of rain over three months.
“It rained almost every week.
“Other years I have been home we have a really good break in May and then we have six weeks in June or July where it doesn’t rain and the crops are just cooked by then.
“Our other farm is 15-20 kilometres north-east of here and last year that struggled with 80mm less than Binnu, which made yields differ by about a tonne.
“This year there was only a 30mm difference in rainfall so the property should still go above average.”
Last year with the unfavourable conditions Mr Carson said they still averaged 1.9t/ha on their wheat program.
“Our wheat was OK last year and went above average here in Binnu but unfortunately we had a lot of canola in last year which suffered and that’s what cost us,” he said.
Mr Carson said they had been growing barley for the past three years and it was performing well this year.
“Prior to that it was canola, wheat, lupins and chickpeas occasionally, but I think barley is here to stay.
“There are better varieties out there now to suit our growing conditions in the north.
“My dad had nightmares about the stuff and I had to convince him into trying it again and now it will be our best gross margin this year.”
The barley was an opportunity to cut back on some of their wheat areas and with new Clearfield varieties, they were able to use it for their Brome grass issues.
Mr Carson completed an electrical apprenticeship before returning home five years ago.
Alex has been on the property for the past two years after completing a plumbing apprenticeship.
“Our parents (Heather and Russell) were happy we were doing something after school rather than coming straight home,” Mr Carson said.
“My parents live here at Binnu, I live east in Ajana (with wife Kelsey) and my brother lives in Northampton.”
Mr Carson said he attempted to study at the Muresk Institute but said it wasn’t for him and he completed a trade instead.
“I wasted a good six months there because I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I tried agricultural studies,” he said.
“I wasn’t interested in studying ag at the time, but now I am back on the farm I really should have stuck at it.”