Wet start to month ideal for winter crops

Pretty Pine farmer Hugh Landale is optimistic about the winter cropping  season after a wet start to May.Deniliquin farmer Hugh Landale says May’s wet start was exactly what growers needed to get the winter season off to a flying start.

On the back of a dry summer and one of the driest Aprils on record, a widespread downpour at the start of the month came just as winter crops were being sown.

Mr Landale, a fifth generation farmer, said as well as improving conditions for planting, the wet start means a saving in water purchases.

He said it’s a boon for the diverse cropping opportunities that his family has spread over several properties between Deniliquin and Pretty Pine.

‘‘The rain we had was perfectly timed to get our winter cropping season under way.

‘‘After one of the driest Aprils in a long time, a lot of local farmers started dry sowing and that’s not ideal because you can end up getting more of a weed burden and it puts more pressure on pre-emergent chemicals.

‘‘We hadn’t changed our farm’s program, but it was getting tight with feeding our stock.

‘‘And the less money we have to fork out for feed and water the better.’’

Mr Landale had just started sowing wheat when the rain was delivered.

He has sown 100ha of Wedgetail, Beckom and Suntop varieties.

He had already sown 40ha of oats and 35ha of lucerne for grazing and 75ha of canola prior to the heavens opening up.

‘‘We made the decision not to burn our stubble this season to incorporate the organic carbon and provide a better environment for our crops to start in . . . hopefully combined with the rain it will pay off.

‘‘Wheat has certainly had a great start to the season, but spring rain and the amount of water ending up in the catchments will impact the end product the most.’’

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