Producers will be kept guessing until the end of the 2017 harvest

DURING a week when ‘hedging your bets’ couldn’t have been more appropriate plenty of big, and small decisions were paying off in the agricultural sector too.

They say the Melbourne Cup is the hardest race to pick a winner in. Few people can get it right on a consistent basis.

And the seasonal outcomes of 2017 could be considered similar. It was a season that was too tough to call even for the most experienced industry leaders. 

The mix of climatic conditions and highs and lows will keep producers guessing right until the grain is delivered to the silo. Winter cropping has been what is known in ag circles as a “mixed bag.”

Things started out promising enough during sowing. But then winter hit, and it hit hard. The run of frosts threatened to wipe out large portions of canola.  And the technique of “hedging your bets” came into play with people deciding whether or not to cut crops for hay or to take them through to harvest despite the risk of low yields. 

In a bid to mitigate the risk restockers entered the store lamb market and bought up light stock in the hope of grazing off some of the poorly-performing or failed winter crops. 

This was one way to turn bad into good.

And in this past week some parts of the Riverina received more than 35 mm of rain.

Too late for some? Or was it better late than never?

Yes the rain does bring the opportunity for weeds to thrive but some of the later maturing crops were set to benefit too. 

The outcome of the 2017 harvest will be known soon and it may not be a ‘disaster.’