NOBODY had high hopes for the Riverina harvest after such a dry year.
But some little surprises at the silo in southern NSW have been more than welcomed.
Jim Simpson of “Ivydale”, runs a mixed farming operation on the outskirts of Wagga and conceded it had been a tough year with little rainfall during the growing season.
His operation was indicative of many others in the region.
Just before he put the header in to strip what he described as a :handy crop of triticale” he took time out to talk up some of the small positives achieved by landholders in this region.
“I have heard of people in this area getting 15 per cent and more for protein in their wheat,” he said.
This higher protein means the grain can be sold at better grades and ultimately commands more per tonne.
However, the drawback was the volume. The dry weather throughout the growing season meant yields were down.
“With the season lacking so much (in rain) what we are seeing now is better quality but we are still lacking in quantity,” he said.
Mr Simpson said the results were testament to better farming practices too. He said winter crops on his place were sown using a disc seeder. This meant that the available soil moisture was conserved.
“There is no till … and we are finding our results to be much better,” he said.
In addition to making the most of soil moisture he said careful weed management was crucial too.
Mr Simpson said it was good to hear of neighbours and other landholders getting good results when they take their crops to the silo.
“That’s farming and you have to take it as it comes,” he said.
With the run of hot weather starting to take hold Mr Simpson said there was certainly a hope for milder conditions.
He said the rain and storms earlier on had affected harvest in many parts though.
Meanwhile, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) latest seasonal update has been released.
The update indicates that drought conditions have re-intensified cross much of the state.
DPI’s Leader of Climate Applications and Digital Agriculture, Anthony Clark said on ground conditions are highly complex, due to storm rainfall patterns that have been passing across NSW.
“The continuation of the drought means stock water levels remain critically low across large parts of NSW, particularly in the Western, North West and Central West regions.
However, in November a large low pressure system provided more than 100mm of rainfall in parts of the Sydney Basin through to Wollongong, but the benefits will not be seen for some weeks and given its geographic distribution, it will not significantly change the state-wide drought.”
The Bureau of Meteorology rainfall outlook for December to February indicates that there is a near equal chance, 40 to 60 percent, of wetter or drier that average conditions across most of NSW.
There is also an increased chance of warmer than average daytime and overnight temperatures across all of NSW.