Cropping

Optimism is lacking

By Country News

Farmers who attended the Finley Discussion Group crop establishment meetings in early June are not optimistic about the season according to the facilitator, agriculture consultant John Lacy.

‘‘Although we started with a good 35 to 60mm of rain in early May, most farmers said they are managing for a dryland rather than irrigated season,’’ he said.

Mr Lacy said most farmers were treading carefully, but were confident enough to say yield levels would not be worse than last season.

‘‘There were no farmers planning for summer crops, such as rice and corn,’’ he said.

‘‘Most farmers have little carryover water left as it was used for autumn watering of grazing wheats and canola and subclover pastures.

‘‘Predicted market water prices in spring of $500/Ml would price annual crop and pasture watering out of the picture.

‘‘There would need to be a big turnaround in rainfall to fill the dams, as there was in spring 2016, when many rice farmers used waterlogged and failed winter crop paddocks for rice.’’