GRAIN grower fortunes have been mixed in the wake of the recent downpours the region has received, with the rainfall being described as ‘patchy’.
Trentham Cliffs grain grower Daniel Linklater told the ‘Weekly that his family’s plantings had received between 8-12mm over most of the property.
“We had one stand-out gauge receiving 21mm, reflecting the highly variable falls around the district,” Mr Linklater said.
“I have heard of good 20-30mm events to the north and south of our district, but generally in our area and across the Millewa it was very disappointing.
“For those growers who did receive the higher totals, I hope it has benefited them and yields a positive result.
“It certainly did not live up to the forecast rainfall, which would have been so good at a critical time for crops.”
Mr Linklater said that at the end of July, crops had limitless potential.
“However the wheels fell-off in terms of rainfall with August recording just 10mm across our farms,” he said.
“September has also been frustratingly dry, and stressful for crops as they begin to mature, exacerbated by a lot of windy conditions.
“Wheat and barley heads are now filling with grain, while pulses are flowering and forming seed pods.
“A big drink this last week would have been particularly beneficial to the lentil and chickpea crops, as they are only just putting on a growth spurt.
“However, the ‘plus-size’ person hasn’t sung yet, we probably still have another fortnight of opportunity for further rain events to help prop up yields.”
Mr Linklater said that grain prices for the coming harvest are certainly encouraging, however, input costs such as chemical and fertiliser for the next season are forecast to rise sharply – in fact they look set to double in some cases.
“With grain yields likely to be below average for many growers in our district, it is going to require a lot of careful planning to manage the next season,” he said.
‘Best practice requires investment and costs real money, some years there is no return on that, but the longer term benefits are clear.
“Crops on good rotations continue to be exceptionally productive in spite of substantially below average rainfall.”
Photos supplied by Stacey Solomon.