Late break hurts crops

By Rodney Woods

The late autumn break in northern Victoria is likely to see below average crop yields across the region, according to an Agriculture Victoria agronomist.

Seasonal risk agronomist Dale Grey said recent falls across the region meant all crops would come up, but the rain’s timing would impact yield levels.

‘‘Everything will come up,’’ Mr Grey said.

‘‘The main issue coming up will be the cooler temperatures which will result in crops germinating slower ... making it harder to get average yield.

‘‘I’d have to say below average (yields) because of the timing of the start.

‘‘Even if we have an average year from here on, it will be lower than average yielding because the break came four to six weeks later.

‘‘There is a historic relationship between sowing date and yields. Of course, there’s always exceptions to that but they are very rare.’’

Mr Grey described the start of the season as ‘‘patchy to say the least’’.

Despite the poor start for crops, Mr Grey said grazing farmers were in a worse position.

‘‘The pasture situation is probably poorer. Grazing farmers are going to be feeding out a lot longer,’’ he said.

With the season starting the way it had, Mr Grey said wheat quality could improve, while canola quality was likely to reduce, with barley the most likely cereal crop to flourish under the current conditions.

‘‘Within each crop, the early maturing varieties perform better.

‘‘Barley is a tougher cereal species that would perform better in seasons like this could be.’’

So far in June, Shepparton has recorded 28.8mm, Yarrawonga 31mm, Kyabram 34.4mm, Mangalore 42.4mm, Kerang 37.2mm and Benalla 46.3mm.