Farmers thrilled by 'fantastic' year

THE farmers are mostly happy with their lot, thanks to favourable weather conditions last year, says Walla agronomist Tim Paramore.

Mr Paramore yesterday said the spring had been “fantastic” right across his district.

But he said farmers further north and west had told him they had struggled with their returns — hampered by a lack of rain in the crucial couple of months before harvest time.

That was not the case in his area where results had been strong.

The average return in the Walla district was four tonnes to the hectare for wheat and two tonnes for canola.

That provided a return of about $1000 a hectare, he said.

He said the district had been lucky to have a dry harvest period, ensuring the quality of grain was not downgraded.

“Obviously the quality has been very good,” Mr Paramore said.

“We struggled earlier to get the protein into the wheat.”

Mr Paramore said the season had been “tight” in September and October when more rain would have helped.

People who had sown early got the benefit with just enough ground moisture for crops.

Mr Paramore said that at this time last year there had been a lot of rain which had promoted pasture growth and weeds.

Some farmers had had to spray three times and work their paddocks in preparation for planting.

“That just absolutely made the canola,” Mr Paramore said.

The one downside was that ryegrass was prevalent in more recent crops.

It is being helped by an increased resistance to herbicides.

Mr Paramore said good rain in November had been ideal for

lucerne, enabling it to grow quickly.

“People have done well with cattle,” he said.

There was less pasture in the Holbrook area last year, but still there was sufficient feed around for stock.

Sheep prices had fallen away in recent months, but early on they were exceptionally good.

Mr Paramore said wool prices have continued at an acceptable level.

“It looks like it is going to be dry for a couple of months,” he said.

In the case of most farmers around the region, Mr Paramore summed up: “It has been a year where you did quite well.”

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