Crops head into the home straight

Two farmers and a child stand before farm machinery on a farm.

Colin and Libby Hutchinson farm at Tammin in Western Australia’s central wheatbelt, 184 kilometres east of Perth. They crop wheat, barley and canola.

We’ve had three frosts that slowed growth in our late-germinating wheat, barley and canola, but they’re starting to pick-up following a major rain event. Dry conditions at seeding caused losses that saw us desiccate a quarter of our crops. We’ve finished two separate herbicide sprays targeting grass and then broadleaf weeds, and three insecticide sprays to control lucerne flea. Monitoring will determine whether we topdress nitrogen after 30 kilograms per hectare of granular urea was applied at seeding. We’ve forward-sold 10 per cent of the wheat as part of our marketing strategy. Machinery maintenance, crop monitoring and spraying are keeping us busy.

Crosby Lyne farms with his wife Poppy, sons Angus and Sam, and daughter-in-law Chloe at Campbell Town in central Tasmania, about 67km south-east of Launceston. They crop poppies, barley, wheat, lupins and canola, and run 4500 Merino sheep.

We haven’t had much rain lately, but good soil moisture has mostly allowed for steady crop growth. We’ve re-sown part of the canola and barley due to damage caused by larks, slugs and saturation. We’ve had mixed results using pre-emergent herbicides because high stubble loads have reduced the efficacy of Boxer Gold® and Avedex® applications in areas, but Sakura® has mostly provided good control in the wheat. We’ve sprayed the canola, lupins and patches of the cereals, and applied liquid fertilisers to correct nutrient deficiencies and encourage growth in the cereal and ryegrass during winter. We’ve finished the new centre pivot areas, planting poppies, and vaccinating and drenching our ewes before lambing. Crop monitoring and preparing paddocks for planting poppies are major areas of focus.

Neil Westcott, his wife Alison, his parents Cliff and Helen, and his uncle Malcolm farm at Alectown in central-west NSW, 100km south of Dubbo. They crop canola, wheat and barley.

We’ve had above-average rain, which has improved our crops following patchy germination in dry conditions. The wheat and barley are showing good potential, but we’ve re-sown 160ha of canola due to slug damage and baited another 640ha of the crop. We’ve sprayed the triazine tolerant (TT) canola with Select, Verdict® and atrazine and sprayed glyphosate on the Roundup Ready® (RR) canola to control wild oats, ryegrass and brome grass. We’ve also sprayed the cereals with Achieve® and Axial® for wild oats and ryegrass, plus Tordon® and Lontrel® for broadleaf weeds, such as milk thistle, and residual control of fleabane. Monitoring cereals for nitrogen deficiency and disease, particularly rust in wheat and scald in barley, is a high priority. Harvest machinery maintenance is next on the agenda.

Ian and Cathie Hastings farm with their son Mike and daughter-in-law Megan about 13km south-west of Ouyen in Victoria’s Mallee. They crop wheat, barley, canola and lupins, and are trialling 40ha of chickpeas as another legume option in their rotation.

Dry conditions and late germination have affected yield potential in half of the canola and lupins and a quarter of the barley, but the chickpeas look good. Weed pressure is low across our paddocks following a single herbicide spray. Planting the Clearfield® wheat variety Kord has allowed us to vary our herbicide use for grass weed control. We’re monitoring for trace element deficiencies, mice and rabbits, and examining the growth stages in our crops. We’re focused on maintaining the spray equipment and harvester, cleaning-out grain storage and preparing to host the Ouyen Farm Safety Expo involving 150 primary students from the Mallee region.

Adam Morgan farms with his wife Tanja, brother Daniel and parents David and Pam at Geranium in South Australia’s Mallee region, about 94km south-east of Murray Bridge. They crop wheat, canola, barley and triticale, and produce oaten, barley and triticale hay.

Although we’ve had frequent rain, a few frosts have slowed growth in our grain and hay paddocks. We’ve finished an initial herbicide spray over all our crops and applied fungicide on the wheat and barley to prevent disease. We’ve spread granular urea in paddocks at rates of 40kg/ha to 70kg/ha to redress nitrogen deficiency. Monitoring for signs of rust, scald, Heliothis caterpillar and aphids is ongoing. We’re concentrating on maintaining mowers and balers in preparation for hay cutting and baling in October. We’ve purchased a new telehandler for loading hay.

Brian and Val Gregg farm 35km east of Dysart in central Queensland with their son Nigel and daughter-in-law Sue-Ann. They crop sorghum, chickpeas, maize, mungbeans and wheat.

Following frequent rains we’ve had overland flooding, which is unusual in winter. As a result, we lost 150ha of chickpeas and 1200ha of crops are recovering from waterlogging. We’ve sprayed glyphosate and 2,4-D amine, and spread granular urea on the paddock where sorghum was harvested. We’ve also harvested 200ha of maize after losing most of the crop to flooding. We’ve been monitoring for disease, especially ascochyta blight in chickpeas because it’s prevalent in our district. We’ve started spraying the chickpeas for Heliothis caterpillar and planted sorghum as an opportunity crop to take advantage of the soil moisture. We recently bought a 12-metre Gason Para-Maxx tyne planter.

Region National, North, South, West