Winter crop a hopeful sight at Brookstead

Winter crop window closing


Cropping
Jacob Little, Wynola, Brookstead, has 62ha of Lancer wheat and 64ha of chickpeas in the ground.

Jacob Little, Wynola, Brookstead, has 62ha of Lancer wheat and 64ha of chickpeas in the ground.

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There's minimal green paddocks across the Darling Downs, with many of those attributable to irrigation or just plain old good luck.

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Not even the most optimistic of farmers have decided to take a gamble on planting a winter crop this year.

There's minimal green paddocks across the Darling Downs, with many of those attributable to irrigation or just plain old good luck.

Jacob Little, Wynola, Brookstead, has wheat and chickpeas in the ground but said they had hoped a weather change in June would allow them to plant double the area they have in.

Mr Little said the 62 hectares of Lancer wheat was planted on May 20 and was growing nicely.

"We watered the wheat up on 28mm and it's had 26mm of in-crop rain across a couple of falls," he said.

"We haven't given it a drink since, but we probably will have to in the next month or so."

The chickpeas were planted on sorghum fallow in mid-June, with 32ha of Boundary growing under irrigation and another 32ha of Seamer planted dryland.

"We mainly planted the dryland because we had enough moisture to get them up and a rain change was forecast to come through, but it didn't eventuate," Mr Little said.

"We had thought about ploughing them in, but they seem to be going okay so we'll wait and see."

The reduced winter crop comes off the back of a positive summer, with sorghum averaging nearly 2t/acre, corn averaging 4.5t, and cotton yields of 4.8 bales/acre.

Matthew Holding, Meteora Agronomic Consulting, said when talking about winter cropping on the Downs, the word abysmal came to mind.

"It's nearly getting too late now for it to really occur; we'd have to get some good rain really quickly for it to happen," he said.

"You could look at it in the positive sense and say it's a delayed income if they don't winter crop, they can hopefully plant a summer crop if we get some rain."

Mr Holding said many growers had been "pretty wary" of putting much in the ground.

"The majority of my clients are all being a bit cautious and they haven't really taken the punt," he said.

"Some people have put a bit of seed in just for a potential cover crop, but not in terms of a commercial crop."

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