Tasmania's long start

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Photo of Tasmanian growers Kate and Alex Clarke

Tasmanian growers Kate and Alex Clarke toiled through a four-month seeding program.

PHOTO: Clarisa Collis

For Tasmanian growers Alex and Kate Clarke, seeding on their family’s 8000 hectares at Campbell Town in the state’s Northern Midlands kicked off in late January on the back of 27 millimetres of rain. Alex, who farms with his parents Tom and Amanda, says sporadic, below-average rainfall, totalling 110mm for the year so far, called for a staggered approach to their seeding operation over more than four months.

Using both tyne and disc machines across 665ha of irrigated country, the Clarkes have sown 180ha of wheat, 100ha of oats, 60ha of canola, 40ha of forage rape, 90ha of lucerne, 60ha of clover, 35ha of tillage radish and 100ha of barley. They plan to seed 200ha of poppies in August and 100ha of field peas in September, taking total cropping to 965ha.

Alex says they opted for the dual-purpose wheat varieties Manning and SQP Revenue in 2017 because they have the potential to yield about 10t/ha under irrigation and to provide feed for their 7000 self-replacing Merino ewes. He says this potential yield is matched by the LongReach Trojan and LongReach Kittyhawk wheat varieties that the Clarkes have also planted this year, mainly to help achieve a price premium in milling wheat markets. Similarly, they have included Westminster barley in their 2017 sowing program to help secure stronger prices in higher-value malting barley markets.

In the family’s fifth year of growing dual-purpose canola, they have chosen to grow the SF Edimax CL canola variety for its dry matter production, averaging 1.5t/ha, and grain yields pushing 3t/ha, and for the weed control benefits this Clearfield® winter cultivar provides.

More information:

Alex Clarke,
0437 811 434