FOR Darkan farmer David Warren, this year’s harvest is about seven days from finishing – breakdowns and weather permitting.
David was harvesting the last of his 150 hectare canola program on the weekend with the GT-53 Roundup Ready variety yielding about 1.7 tonnes a hectare.
The header then moved into a 450ha Spartacus barley program which he said was yielding about 3.5t/ha.
“We are probably a week behind where we would normally be, but we had a 30mm rain event a couple of weeks ago that delayed harvest,” he said.
“It doesn’t look like it has done too much damage to quality, with the barley going Malt so far.
“It just meant we couldn’t get going when we wanted to.”
David said, like a number of regions, it was a very late start to the growing season for the Darkan area.
“Probably for the start we had and the rainfall during the growing season we are happy with the yields we are seeing,” he said.
“Early on it wasn’t looking good and then we had a very wet spring which was good for pasture but our crops in the lower country suffered from waterlogging.
“The frost event that impacted many areas of the Great Southern also caused more damage than we thought it did, so that will hit our barley yields.”
Besides these small challenges, David said it couldn’t be a better time to be in farming.
He is due to start shearing 18,500 sheep this week and said he hadn’t seen grain and sheep prices both at the levels they are now at the same time.
“It is an exciting period to be in farming and prices across the board for both grain and sheep are magnificent,” he said.
“It is not often you see the two align like they are and you have to make the most of it.”
David said he was banking on sheep prices being sustainable for the long-term and would increase his ewe flock by 1500 head next year and drop out some of the cropping program.
“This country is better suited to sheep as we have too many wasted hectares when you look at a large-scale cropping program,” he said.
“My only concern with reducing cropping hectares and running more sheep is the live export issue. I hope that it can continue into the future as many families running sheep depend on it for their livelihoods.
“It seems that if Labor get in federally that we could see the end of live export and that could only be a bad thing for small communities like Darkan.”