Halfway mark for cropping season

By Jamie Salter

The cropping season has reached the halfway mark and northern Victorian farmers’ positivity has grown with their crops.

Third generation cropping farmer John Alexander of Devenish sowed canola, faba beans, albus lupins, wheat and barley this year, which he said were looking excellent.

“We've had nearly ideal conditions, it's one of those years where there's nothing much wrong with it, which doesn't happen very often and we need to embrace it — but we've still got a long way to go,” Mr Alexander said.

“Our wish would be for not a lot of rain until the end of August, dry springs are a real issue at the moment but we will be coming into the spring with a full soil moisture profile.”

Goorambat cropping farmer David Anker has been farming for 35 years and said his wheat and canola crops were growing well.

“It was quite wet early and we were concerned with how wet it would be in winter, but over the last few weeks there hasn't been too much rain,” Mr Anker said.

“Five or 10 mm would be good to activate the urea but once we get into August we can start looking for a bit more rainfall.

“The earlier sown crops are really big with great potential.

“Some of the other crops that were sown a bit later aren't growing as quickly with the colder conditions, but they're still doing well.”

Cosgrove cropping farmer Allan Shields said he would be keeping a close eye on his crops before harvesting around late October to early November.

“For the last half of the cropping season, I'll be spreading more urea on the wheat to get a bigger yield,” he said.

“I found a bit of blackleg in some of the first paddocks of canola, so I might have to go in with the fungicide a bit earlier.

“I'll monitor the crop for rust now and put a fungicide out to stop it — we haven't had to do that in years because it hasn't been wet enough.”

Mr Shields said not enough rainfall in spring could cut the crop yield in half and that previous years had been too dry.

In July so far, Benalla has received 35.4 mm of rainfall, Kyabram 34.8 mm, and Shepparton 41.6 mm — higher than Shepparton’s total July 2019 rainfall of 40.2 mm.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the region is forecast to receive 100 mm of rain over the next three months, with a 75 per cent chance of exceeding the median rainfall.