Soft finish needed for yield potential

Soft finish needed for yield potential


Cropping News
Kobe the sheep dog was keen to be part of the action when Farm Weekly visited the Wood family property at Kendenup on Monday. Jeremy Wood, with his son Xavier and daughter Lexi, was pictured in a paddock of Rosalind barley that was looking pretty good at this point. "The crops are going OK but they will need a nice, soft finish to hit potential," Jeremy said. The Wood family have put in 1400 hectares of crop this year, consisting of barley, wheat, canola, faba beans and peas.

Kobe the sheep dog was keen to be part of the action when Farm Weekly visited the Wood family property at Kendenup on Monday. Jeremy Wood, with his son Xavier and daughter Lexi, was pictured in a paddock of Rosalind barley that was looking pretty good at this point. "The crops are going OK but they will need a nice, soft finish to hit potential," Jeremy said. The Wood family have put in 1400 hectares of crop this year, consisting of barley, wheat, canola, faba beans and peas.

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With just 200 millimetres received for the year to date on the Wood family's Beau Valley property at Kendenup, crops are hanging in there pretty well at this stage but a soft finish will be needed to maximise yield potential.

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BRING on a good finish.

That is what growers across the State are hoping for to reach average to above average yield potential for most areas.

With just 200 millimetres received for the year to date on the Wood family's Beau Valley property at Kendenup, crops are hanging in there pretty well at this stage but a soft finish will be needed to maximise yield potential.

Jeremy Wood farms with his wife Jenna and his parents Brad and Roxane and brother Clayton and while rain has been scarce in the past couple of months, what has fallen has come at just the right time for the crop.

The Woods planted 1400 hectares of crop this year, run in conjunction with a 5000 head Merino ewe flock.

"We are in a 550mm rainfall average area," Mr Wood said.

"So we are down on what we would normally receive, but the crops are hanging in there pretty well at the moment.

"We are going to need a wet spring though, as they are growing the plants are sucking more water out of the ground so it can come any time it likes now."

This year's cropping program consisted of barley, wheat, canola, faba beans and peas.

Barley planted was all Rosalind, while the wheat program was made up of Scepter and Zen, with Invigor T4510 the only canola variety put in this year.

Faba beans have been planted for the past five years due to the rotation benefits it offers plus the sheep loved them, Mr Wood said.

"We received a thunderstorm in March which allowed us to get a good knockdown and it was lucky we did get rain then, as things would be far tighter now," he said.

"We started seeding in mid-April with the canola and faba beans, while the barley went in on May 3 and we finished everything by the end of May."

The Woods have pretty much shut the gate on the crops, with all nitrogen and so on applied in recent weeks.

It is a case now of keeping an eye on disease and waiting for that all important rain.

"We are watching the canola pretty hard for signs of sclerotonia, but apart from that the crops are looking healthy at this point," Mr Wood said.

In terms of marketing their grain, nothing has been locked in at this point and they will just sit and wait to see how the month plays out.

"Prices aren't too bad at the moment, so hopefully they stay at reasonable levels," Mr Wood said.

Jeremy and Jenna returned to the family farm four years ago after working in Perth and Mr Wood said it was a great time to be in agriculture.

"Everything is pretty positive at the moment," he said.

"Sheep prices are very good and we have slowly been building numbers in recent years to take advantage of the better returns.

"There is less risk in sheep than cropping, you don't have the level of costs with sheep as you do with crops.

"We are running a pure Merino flock and with wool and meat values at the moment they are worth a bit."

Due to the tight pasture season, the Woods have been supplementary feeding the sheep and have used some confinement feeding practices to give paddocks a rest and to let pastures build up.

They have mostly stopped feeding now and the last lot in confinement will be pushed out in coming days onto a fresh paddock.

Out at Merredin, grower Mick Caughey said the crops were set up but a good finish was going to be needed.

"We are sitting on average rainfall at the moment and yield potential is going to depend on the finish," Mr Caughey said.

"There is no subsoil moisture and we have just been getting enough to keep the crops going.

"We were lucky enough to get 5-10mm out of a thunderstorm last week which was handy."

Mr Caughey said they had put their full program in this year, made up of barley, wheat and lupins.

Geraldton-based consultant Craig Topham, Agrarian Management, said it was an "interesting season" in the north.

"It is quite different from last year, where we didn't get a lot of rain but it came at the right time, whereas this year we had a lot of rain at the wrong time," Mr Topham said.

"Leaching and nutrition has been a big issue up here, particularly on the lighter country.

"It is certainly a heavy land season this year.

"Anything on that heavy country is doing pretty well but a high level of leaching on the lighter country has meant crops, in particular canola and lupins, are struggling on those soils."

Mr Topham said canola was just flowering now and was probably three weeks behind where it would normally be.

"The canola on the sand is struggling but on the heavy country it isn't too bad," he said.

"Lupins are also just setting pods and we had 30C up here on Friday, so with canola and lupins at the stage they are the heat doesn't do them much good.

"The cereals aren't too bad and are not too far behind where they would be in a normal year, so there is still some potential if we can get a good finish.

"We would be looking at an average year if we can get that finish."

Mr Topham said crops on country that had received good soil management and amelioration were certainly ahead of crops where this hadn't taken place.

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