Less canola is on the cards

By Country News

More hay and less canola is set to be the sowing trend around Elmore, Colbinabbin and Rochester, according to a Landmark agronomist.

Greg Toomey, from Elmore, said for dryland farmers things didn’t change much from year-to-year but the area of canola grown was likely to be impacted due to market prices.

‘‘For dryland farmers there could be less canola due to the price of canola verses cereal grains,’’ he said.

‘‘There could be more hay also because it is a dry-year risk mitigation tactic, and the high prices paid for oat and hay and cereal hay (last season).’’

When it comes to irrigation farmers, the growing of some summer crops could be reduced.

‘‘The high cost of water could affect the growing of summer crops such as tomatoes, corn and lucerne,’’ Mr Toomey said.

Despite the Bureau of Meteorology’s prediction of a drier autumn, Mr Toomey said that did not mean good crops could not be grown.

‘‘The seasonal forecast is a very difficult and challenging thing,’’ he said.

‘‘The bureau forecast leaning towards the drier side doesn’t mean we can’t get substantial rain and get a good crop.

‘‘Lets hope for a fair bit of rain — but it is what it is.

‘‘What we would like is rain by the middle of May at the latest. If you’re a grazier, you want rain as soon as possible.

‘‘We need a fall greater than 15mm to consider it a break — in one fall or over a couple of days.’’

Regardless of how the season turned out, Mr Toomey said he would be encouraging farmers in his area to sow early.

‘‘Earlier-sown crops outdo later-sown crops, regardless of the season, so that will be the objective of Elmore, Colbinabbin and Rochester farmers.’’