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30 October 2019
By Colin MacGillivray
The Wimmera-Mallee represents one of the few bright spots amid nationwide predictions of a grim grains harvest.
That’s the assessment of Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke.
World-leading food and agriculture financing group Rabobank last week predicted a dire harvest for most of Australia, with the winter crop tipped to yield just 27.7 million tonnes – a figure that would be the smallest since 2007-08.
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While regions such as the Western Australia ‘bread basket’ are faltering, Mr Jochinke said many farmers in Victoria’s west were optimistic of good seasons.
The Murra Warra farmer said the region was still a ‘mixed bag’, but most district farmers were doing better than counterparts across Australia.
“When you look at the national grain crop, it is a pretty hard space to be in at the moment,” he said.
“We’ve got areas that aren’t going to have a harvest and others that are barely going to get their seed back.
“But mainly in Victoria just north and especially south of the ranges, we’re seeing some excellent crops for the amount of rain we’ve had.
“It’s absolutely one of the bright spots around the country.”
Mr Jochinke said above-average rain in December last year had saved many crops through a drier than usual spring.
“We’ve been fortunate to have the finish and the rain when it fell for us,” he said.
“Because of the rainfall we had in late December, it has given us a lot of opportunity and potential through the districts.
“It’s still very much a mixed bag, but I wouldn’t say anywhere around the Wimmera-Mallee region is down and out.
“There are a few who have had a couple of challenges, especially around not getting the rain when they would regularly have had it.
“We haven’t had average rainfall and if people weren’t able to get that summer rain last year, that’s the difference between being up or down right now.”
Mr Jochinke said frost had also been a factor in parts of the region.
“It varies across all crops. I’ve seen some in field peas, I’ve seen some in barley and I’ve seen some in canola personally, but I am hearing some stories around the state as well,” he said.
Mr Jochinke said he expected many growers to start their harvest in the next week or two, with harvest ramping up by the second and third weeks of November.
He said a good harvest would help offset a pair of lean seasons for the Wimmera-Mallee.
“It really was the luck of the draw for that December rainfall last year, which has given us the ability to get through what has been a relatively dry spring,” he said.
“Hopefully everyone can have a reasonable season and catch up a little bit with the couple of bad seasons we’ve had.
“Even though we’re sitting on a good one now, we’ve had two hard ones.
“It’s a game of swings and roundabouts, but we’re very fortunate to be in the position we are in currently.
“But with just the growing season rainfall and without that December rainfall last year, we’d be in a fair bit of strife.”
The entire October 30, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire October 30, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!