Home' On The Land : January 13th 2011 Contents www.standard.net.au
THURSDAY, January 13, 2011 ON THE LAND -- 1
WHEAT crops in the south-west are
ready for harvest, but they will have
to wait at least another week due to
this week's wet weather.
Despite the ongoing wet, the
region's wheat crops have come
through comparatively well. Most
farmers are looking at decent yields,
although downgrades are increas-
ingly likely the longer crops are left
Tim Whitehead and his son, also
called Tim, were all set to harvest
the wheat at their Minhamite prop-
erty, Spring Creek, this week, but
Monday's rain ended their plans.
"It will be another week at least
until it dries out enough. It depends
how much rain we actually get out of
this," Mr Whitehead (junior) said.
Despite the delay, he is confident
of a good result, with the best of the
crops looking set to yield about six
tonnes per hectare. Similar results
are expected across the south-west,
in contrast to the total losses on
many farms further north and in
New South Wales.
The Whitehead's wheat crops are
mainly white feed varieties, destined
to supply district dairy farmers, so
the possibility of sprouting is not a
Steve Little, leader of Dairy
Australia's Grains2Milk program,
has advised that the nutritional
value of sprouted wheat is just as
good or better than sound grain,
provided the test weight is not too
low and moisture levels do not cause
mould during storage.
Growers producing milling wheat
are likely to see downgrades due
to sprouting and mould diseases,
both of which are exacerbated by
Stem rust has been widespread
this season and there have also been
some grain rejections due to "white
grain disorder", also caused by a
Mr Whitehead said this year's
canola harvest was of good quality
but disappointing in yield.
Their average yield was 1.8 tonnes
per hectare, compared to 2.5 to 3.0
tonnes per hectare in a normal
"The old traditional varieties
coped with the wet a lot better than
the new hybrids. The difference was
about half a tonne per hectare," Mr
Their cropping mix also includes
lupins and beans, both of which were
harvested last week.
"The lupins did well but the beans
didn't yield as well."
The outlook is similar further
north at Skipton.
Ian Waller, manager of the historic
property Mooramong, said canola
crops had yielded good quality seed
at around 1.8 tonnes per hectare.
"We have some canola still
standing --- it's on raised beds and
we haven't been able to get on to
windrow it because there's water
in the furrows."
Mr Waller said these crops would
be direct-headed if worthwhile
when the paddocks were dry
enough. The farm's barley has also
been harvested, with yields of three
to four tonnes per hectare.
"The wind on that hot day after
Christmas put about a tonne per
hectare of seed on the ground," Mr
He said the whole of the barley
harvest had been downgraded to
F1.Their wheat harvest is also
on hold until the wet weather
Mr Waller said the crops were
shaping up for a respectable yield
of four to five tonnes per hectare.
"We really don't know what we'll
end up with until we get through
this wet. It is a long, drawn-out and
very frustrating harvest," he said.
By STEVE HYNES
Tim Whitehead (junior) in a wheat crop that's ready for harvest but can't be touched because of the wet weather.
110110SH06 Picture: STEVE HYNES
Wet weather puts harvest on hold
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