EXTREME heat is playing havoc on summer crops in Central Queensland.
Agronomist Stuart Olsson, AGnVet Services, Theodore, said a lot of farmers are struggling after intermittent rain and heat events – with crops failing to bounce back.
Chris Conway, Wongalee, Theodore, has mungbeans in the ground which were planted in December, and he said they were definitely feeling the heat.
“Considering the heat they are pretty good, but since I planted they’ve almost had more 40 degree days than not,” he said.
Wongalee, 810 hectares, is a predominantly dryland cropping operation with a small commercial cattle herd.
Mr Conway recently planted another 100 hectares of mungbeans (Crystal), and the same of sorghum (Pioneer’s G44).
He said due to the unpredictable seasons for the past three years he has mostly only been planting winter crops.
“We got about 100mm this year in early-year rain,” he said.
Mr Conway owns and operates Wongalee with his wife Jane. They have three children; Jack, six, Pippa, four, and Rob, two.
Mr Olsson said farmers are eagerly watching the radar this week, with rain expected from Tuesday.
“All the cotton growers don’t want it, but everyone else is still keen for some backup rain,” he said.
“It has just been so hot in between the two lots of rain.”
Mungbeans in the region are scattered between ready-to-harvest, and just being planted – and there is a wide variance in a lot of crops.
“None of the crops are too brilliant, it’s just been too hot,” Mr Olsson said.
He said like Mr Conway, a lot of farmers have been skipping summer crops or only planting small amounts after the last three years.
However with chickpea prices falling, some growers were less likely to rely on the pulse winter crop.
”Even if chickpeas go off the boil a fair bit, they’re still offering $450-$500 (per tonne) which is still pretty good for chickpeas historically,” he said.
“It’s only four years ago they were $300/tonne.”