Farmers optimistic in canola crop

By Madeleine Byron

Cropping farmers are optimistic following good rainfall, with produce expected to inspire.

Waggarandall farmer Steve Ludeman, who grows wheat, canola and pulse crops on his 2200-hectare property, was expecting good outcomes this season.

‘‘We had some good summer rain, which helped us get a bit of sub-soil moisture,’’ he said.

‘‘Our rainfall to date is below average, which has been enough to get us through the winter months, but we are going to need one or two pretty significant rain events to reach full potential.’’

The Ludeman farm operates on a five-year rotation plan containing 40 per cent canola, 40 per cent wheat and 20 per cent pulse crops.

Mr Ludeman said the canola would finish flowering in two to three weeks and would be harvested mid-November.

‘‘We’ve got two harvesters, so usually we can get it wrapped up before Christmas.’’

Mr Ludeman’s crop was affected by severe frost last year.

‘‘At the moment the crop is in a good condition but we now all too well that it’s still early days,’’ he said.

‘‘It was this time last year we ended up cutting at least 50 per cent of our crops for hay.’’

Describing cropping as ‘‘riding the race horse to the finish line’’, Mr Ludeman said it was enjoyable work.

‘‘We started planting around April 12, which was dry sown, and then we had rain fall at the end of April,’’ he said. ‘‘Then we spray and fertilise through the rest of the year, up until now.’’  

Mr Ludeman said farming has evolved since his family settled on the farm in 1878.

‘‘It’s easy these days — the number of hours we sit on the tractor now is nothing compared to what they did in the olden days,’’ he said.  

‘‘The machinery’s bigger, it’s all satellite driven, it’s just a lot easier. For a few busy months a year, it’s not hard work.’’