Farmers need rain urgently for planting

BoM is forecasting some rainfall in time for a full winter planting - will it eventuate?

Grains
AgForce grains president Brendan Taylor said farmers need rain and crops planted in the ground before worrying about the Chinese barely tariff. Picture - Helen Walker.

AgForce grains president Brendan Taylor said farmers need rain and crops planted in the ground before worrying about the Chinese barely tariff. Picture - Helen Walker.

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Most growers are more concerned about getting a crop in the ground than worrying about barley tariffs.

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The last time Queensland grain growers produced a decent winter crop was four years ago in 2016, and farmers are now pinning their hopes on a decent season to get their plantings over the line.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting some rainfall in time for a full winter planting, along with a favourable spring, to ensure the winter planting makes harvest time.

AgForce grains president Brendan Taylor said that while there was good rain in Queensland's grain growing areas in January and February much of southern Queensland had received very little since.

Mr Taylor said he is hoping the BoM forecast is correct - "however that doesn't mean it will happen".

He said as there had been next to no summer crop, farmers were anxious to get a crop in the ground.

"There have been some good falls around St George, Mitchell and into northern NSW which could get some moisture happening for planting," Mr Taylor said.

For those who have deep sown their planting and received 10 to 15 millimetres this would be magic, as that amount of rain goes much further in the colder months than in the summer heat.

Mr Taylor said areas in the central Darling Downs such as the Dalby and Jondaryan districts would largely need 40 to 50mm before they could start planting.

At his own farm near Warra, he has dry sown 300 hectares of barley over the past three weeks but realistically will need up 15 to 20mm to germinate it.

"So far we have received 10mm and that won't be enough to bring it out of the ground," Mr Taylor said.

"Basically there is four weeks left for the winter planting window and most growers are more concerned about getting a crop in the ground rather than worrying - even though it's in the back of their minds - about the 80 per cent tariff China has placed on barley imports.

"Queensland growers are lucky that we have the domestic feedlot, poultry and piggery market and we have not been able to fill that market for a few years now.

"The positive is, if we can fill the domestic market, we definitely will have the freight advantage added to our price."

Mr Taylor said that until winter crops were firmly established in the ground there would be a lot of nervous farmers out there.

"Seasonally South Australia, Victoria and parts of NSW are in good shape but Queensland and Western Australia are not."

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