Crops saved by welcome rain

Rain arrives in time to save crops in southern Queensland


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The weekend rain arrived just in time to save summer cotton and corn crops at Bowenville.

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WELCOME RELIEF: Matt and Jen Finch with Scott Smith in their cotton crop which received 72mm of much needed rain over the weekend. Picture: Helen Walker.

WELCOME RELIEF: Matt and Jen Finch with Scott Smith in their cotton crop which received 72mm of much needed rain over the weekend. Picture: Helen Walker.

The heavens finally opened when a line of thunderstorms delivered much needed rain to southern and central Queensland on the weekend.

For the Carter family at Bowenville, it was a huge relief when 20mm of unexpected rain fell on Friday evening, followed by a further 52mm over the weekend.

Rob and Beth Carter operate the 990-hectare property Struanville in partnership with their two daughters and their husbands, Jen and Matt Finch and Ainsley and Scott Smith.

According to family spokesperson Matt, the rain arrived just in the nick of time to save their 80ha of corn and 80ha of cotton.

"It is was good to receive the rain and to know that both crops will now finish off nicely," Matt said.

The Carters planted their cotton in early November.

"We had received 120mm of rain in October and then watered up to plant," Matt said.

Since then, their cotton crop has received 250mm of rain in December and four in-crop waters.

The family planted their corn crop on the back of water harvesting 250mm of rain into their ring tank on December 17.

"Both crops were really needing one more water but we had run out," Matt said.

Matt and Jen Finch with Scott Smith in their cotton crop which received 72mm of much needed rain over the weekend. Picture: Helen Walker

Matt and Jen Finch with Scott Smith in their cotton crop which received 72mm of much needed rain over the weekend. Picture: Helen Walker

"As we had given the crops their last water the crop was starting to stress; last week the heat certainly took a toll on the crops."

The Carters will harvest their corn in about four weeks. It has been forward contracted to the feedlot market.

"The cotton is about six week away, and the rain will certainly help fill the top bolls," Matt said.

While the rain has given the Carters some subsoil moisture into their sorghum stubble and long fallow ground, they are looking for another 100mm of rain before they can plant chickpeas and barley.

The family draw their irrigated water from overland flow harvesting into ring tanks. They also have two irrigation licences from the Oakey Creek, which they have not be able to draw water from since December 2018 due to drought.

Elders agronomist Jordan McDonald, Dalby, said the recent rain had certainly made a difference to farmers.

"We will start to see the subsoil moisture start to build," he said.

"It will help the late sorghum and cotton planted in southern Queensland. Another 100mm to 120mm is needed to plant winter crops."

He said clients were ordering seed to plant oats off the back of the March rainfalls to have feed available for livestock.

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